CAL FIRE crews were responding to a fire in Fairchild sparked by a fatal helicopter crash when an apparatus flipped over, sending three firefighters to the hospital.

By Mitchel Bobo

Three people were killed in a helicopter crash in Fairfield on Tuesday that led to a fire, highway closures and mass outages for PG&E customers.

A Bell 206 helicopter went down — the cause and circumstances are unknown at this time — at approximately 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of Lyon Road and Soda Springs Road, not far from Interstate 80, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. CAL FIRE officials said the crash sparked a blaze that was quickly contained. However, three firefighters were injured while responding when their vehicle overturned, and they are currently receiving treatment at an area hospital.

Solano County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Le’Ron Cummings confirmed the deaths of the three people on board Tuesday evening, and said the exact cause of death for each would be released after a joint investigation by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

CAL FIRE officials said the craft struck a utility pole when it went down. The Solano County Sheriff’s Office said Lyon Road has been closed in both directions, with no current estimates for reopening,

PG&E spokesperson Brandi Merlo said the fire led to the decision to shut off power for 38,000 PG&E customers in the Fairfield and Vacaville areas, beginning at 3 p.m.

Merlo also confirmed that the helicopter was flying on behalf of PG&E under a third-party contract, and she said crews are at the scene working to restore power, but high temperatures have created more demand for services, which complicated power restoration.

Power was restored to all customers at approximately 8:21 p.m., Merlo said.