On Wednesday evening, an AES Ohio (formerly branded as DP&L) pole caught on fire and began to fall — causing a power outage to offices, homes and businesses in and near downtown Washington Court House.
According to City Manager Joe Denen, a utility pole fire is not an “unusual event,” although “typically the top of the pole catches fire and the resolution is not a significant problem. In this case, the nature of the location of the fire on the pole was a challenge.”
According to Washington Fire Department (WFD) Fire Chief Tim Downing, the fire was at the midway point of the pole “just above what appeared to be a bank of transformers.”
“As the pole burned, it began to fall creating the concern that it may cause other powerlines to fall or sag into the surrounding streets,” explained Downing via email.
Due to the situation, precautionary measures were taken — a large area was blocked off with emergency vehicles and barricade tape. Those areas included Court Street, Fayette Street and East Street. Also closed off was the alley behind Carnegie Public Library as that was where the pole was located.
Mary Ann Kabel, director of Corporate Communications for AES Ohio (formerly DP&L), explained there were two poles impacted in the event that needed to be replaced.
The first outage was reported at 7:48 p.m. and effected 1,700 customers.
At 9:52 p.m., there were 1,611 customers that had power restored by having their power redirected from elsewhere.
Remaining without power were 89 customers that could not have power redirected on that circuit, according to Kabel. Their power was able to be restored once the poles were replaced as of 6:51 a.m. on Thursday morning.
Kabel said that all poles are different and, depending on the situation and damage, differing numbers of people can and will be effected.
“The electric company worked throughout the night to restore power,” wrote Downing. “As always, teamwork from multiple agencies and organizations brought this incident to a rapid and safe conclusion.”
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.