SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The power outage in downtown Sacramento Monday afternoon affected thousands of SMUD customers, including businesses, city hall and homes.

The power went out during rush hour and cut the workday short for many.

Being in a blackout is bad enough, but for people stuck in high-rise buildings, stairs were the only way out.

“Suddenly we heard a lot of noises coming out of the elevator,” said one man affected by the outage.

Downtown Sacramento was in the dark, including city hall, which had to close the public counter.

Blacked out intersections impacted light rail trains and backing up traffic. Even some state workers were unable to do business.

“They knew it wasn’t going to be coming back on so they allowed us to go home,” said one state worker.

But at the 25-story Cal/EPA building, getting home was not easy. With elevators out, employees got some unexpected exercise.

“They’re going to be very sore tomorrow,” said worker. “You use a lot of different muscles.”

For disabled workers stuck on upper floors, emergency evacuation plans were implemented. Fellow employees used special chairs to carry their coworkers down to the ground.

“It took awhile to get down 17 flights. It was less than efficient but she got out safely and everybody was fine,” said Lisa Labrado.

SMUD says they traced the problem to an underground electrical cable. Power has been restored and is running for everyone.

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