City Utilities cutting the power to our house as fire dept. looks on.
We started having brown outs around 9am yesterday and I lost internet connection to my work computer (I work from home.) Finally the power to the house went out and I heard a strange banging on the side of the house like hammering. I went outside expecting to yell at the neighbors for cutting my power and saw fire on the side of the house near the meter. I ran back in, woke up the Husband Person and our house guest A.H., got the fire extinguisher and put the visible flames out. The Husband Person called 911 and got our pets out safely. The fire dept arrived super fast (we live near a hospital). They checked the attic, basement, etc. They cut the hole you see in the picture to check the wall for flames. When they opened the hole a big plume of smoke came out but no more flames. They also used a "thermal" camera to check for hot spots while City Utilities(CU) disconnected us from the grid.
The lovely hole cut by the fire dept. to check the wall for fire in the wall.
CU did some work and then A1 Electric came out and replaced the burnt wires and piping. There was also a second fire from the utility pole down the wire to our house around noon. CU/A1 took care of all that and replaced all of that wiring as well. The only damage we have is the hole cut into the siding by the fire dept. Turns out 4 houses on the block were affected by a transformer problem. Other people had smoke, hot lights, and brown outs, but we were the only ones with fire. We had the wires and power restored by 5pm. It only took that long because it rained during the afternoon and slowed repairs.
Flames and smoke were shooting out of the insulated pipe that houses power lines.
The fire was directly below the kitchen window
It is a little scary to think that this kind of fire could have happened any time and without warning. According to CU our house is wired to handle plenty of voltage but whatever problem the transformer was having caused the wires around our ground wire to heat up to the point of catching fire. Also, with the fire being outside like it was we would have not smelled smoke or heard a detector go off until the fire was much bigger. If it was not for the weird banging noises I would not have gone outside to look. Luckily, I am required to keep a fire extinguisher on residence due to my home office arrangement. Without it there could have been much more damage.
It has become a joke that we've been saving up to have a house fire just for when A.H. came to visit. He has been a real trooper and totally understanding. The 3 of us treated ourselves to a big sushi dinner after everything was back to normal.
The lesson learned: If you ever hear strange banging outside your house go check it out!
~Naima (fights fires in her PJ's and flip flops) Dance