Squirrel downs power line causing fires, outages - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Squirrel downs power line causing fires, outages

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SPOKANE, Wash. - After a day of investigation Avista officials have determined that a squirrel was responsible for setting off a series of events that caused several fires and power outages in North Spokane Wednesday.

Avista officials say around 8:20 Wendesday morning, a squirrel came into contact with a transformer in the 4900 block of North Hartely, at Wellesley.

The animal was killed by the contact which also burned through the power line, causing into fall down. The line fell on a metal fence and a car. The fence became energized and conducted electricity down beneath the ground to a natural gas pipeline.

The underground pipeline burned through and the gas inside ignited. The fire spread to the meters at two nearby houses.

155 Avista customers in the area lost power but had their service restored by noon Wednesday.

Firefighters were able to get all of the fires under control quickly but described the event as a very unusual situation.

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