SARANAC LAKE - People in the Park Avenue neighborhood who lost electrical power Saturday morning have a squirrel to blame.
The squirrel paid the price, too. It died.
The animal was climbing on a utility pole in front of 125 Park Ave., just west of Circle Street, around 6:55 a.m. when it stepped simultaneously on the transformer's phase and ground parts, sending thousands of volts through itself. There was a small explosion, setting a fire that burned through some electrical wires and sent them falling to the ground.
A National Grid worker repairs electrical lines that were severed from a small pole fire, started by a squirrel touching the wrong parts of the transformer this morning on Park Avenue in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo - Peter Crowley)
That account of what happened was told to this reporter by a National Grid electrical worker who was part of a three-man crew on the scene around 8 a.m. The transformer was damaged beyond repair - a hole was burned in the top of it - but before they replaced it they reconnected the lines to bring back power for most of the neighborhood. The households in the immediate vicinity had to wait until the transformer was replaced.
The Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene at 7:05 a.m. with one truck and four members. They stood by until National Grid responded, returning to the fire station at 7:47 a.m.