The one and only still fully powered building in the sleepy Northeast L.A. neighborhood of Hermon (next to Highland Park) belongs to our mensch of the year, Jon Murga, President of Fresco Community Market, who this week is offering free refrigerated and frozen food storage to local residents who lost power due to the raging Santa Ana windstorm that pummeled parts of the San Gabriel Valley and Northeast Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
The juice still buzzing through his building is no accident. Construction crews working on the store earlier this year discovered a parallel trunk line for DWP that connected to a substation nine miles away. That other substation turned out to be just what they were looking for.
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"As a back up measure we tied to it because the other substation has an emergency switch," said Murga. "So we're isolated from this area which allows us to stay operational."
About 40 local residents (this writer included) have taken Murga up on his offer, storing their fridge contents until DWP is able to restore their electricity, which could be as late as this weekend. At the time of this post, a little over 100,000 residents are still without power.
When asked why he was opening up his fridge to locals, Murga doesn't skip a beat.
"Well, our store is community-based," said Murga. "So one of the distinctions is that we participate with the community on different levels. We have our foundation putting the homeless to work as part of the L.A. Mission's Back to Work program. And so as part of that community outreach and being integrated with the community, I think its incumbent on local business leaders that when the community needs help, we help."