Power company: Falling power pole did not cause house fire
Idaho Falls Power said a power pole fire that caused an outage for 1,800 homes Wednesday night did not cause a nearby home to burn when part of it fell on some wires.
The utility had earlier said that after a weather-related equipment malfunction caused the pole on South Skyline to catch fire, the top of the pole burned off and fell into power lines near the home, causing it to ignite as well.
However, on Thursday afternoon, fire investigators said the pole falling on the wires leading to the home did not cause the blaze.
Still, the house fire and the equipment malfunction have not been “completely separated,” Joe Nichols, lead fire investigator, said in a news release from Idaho Power. Nichols said he’ll make a final determination of the cause of the house fire after an electrical engineer from the homeowner’s insurance company inspects it.
The pole that caught fire was just south of the house that burned.
The power pole has been replaced, and power was restored late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
Power was also off for 2,000 homes in Ammon.
Evan Schroeder was driving southbound on Skyline when he noticed the power pole sparking. He pulled over to the side of the road where he said a woman was also watching the power pole ignite.
Schroeder said he told the woman to get away from the pole.
"And as I'm walking back to my car, it falls," he said. "It only fell part way, thank God."
After the initial restoration of power, pockets of outages began to occur in the Alice Dickson subdivision, according to Idaho Falls Power. These were related to cold-load pickup, which occurred when circuits became overloaded due to the sudden, large demand for power once it was restored. Customers are advised to shut off many of their appliances and turn down electric heating and cooling equipment when an outage occurs to prevent this from happening.
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