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Blown transformer ignites grass fire in Madawaska

MADAWASKA, Maine — A blown transformer ignited a grass fire on 11th Ave. Wednesday afternoon, but snuffed itself out as firefighters arrived. 

“Usually in these situations, with the ground still wet, an electrical fire will put itself out,” Fire Chief Jim Soucy of the Madawaska Fire Department said from the scene.

Devin Morin, who lives near the scene, reported the fire.

“I saw my lights flicker, heard a popping sound, and figured a transformer blew,” Morin said. “So I waited. When I saw smoke, I thought it was coming from the house next door so I called the fire department”

Some firefighters stayed in the area until the power was shut off and an Emera Maine crew could arrive to fix the transformer. Homes in the area were without power for an about an hour until repairs were made.

“There is nothing we can do,” Pierrette Soucy, a firefighter and the chief’s wife, said before the power crew arrived. “But we will stay to make sure everyone is safe.”

When two linemen from Emera Maine got there, Chief Soucy gave the all-clear for firefighters to vacate the area. No one was injured.

Kevin Plourde and Tom Morin, both linemen for Emera Maine, worked to fix the damage done.

“The wire separated from the basket,” Plourde said. “We get calls like this all the time, but it is usually because of a squirrel this time of year.”

The hardware for the lines was updated five years ago, according to Plourde, and should last about 20-30 years.

“We don’t usually check the hardware, but this was corrosion,” Plourde said. “It is just like if your car breaks down, the lines just get corroded because of the snow and salt out on the roads that gets splashed up into the air.”

Follow Morgan Mitchell on Twitter @TheMaineMorgan

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