A scary spark on our street in Eastwood

My dear wife Karen and I headed out to run an errand when she got off from her job at SMG Monday night. We didn’t stay out long. It was still light when I pulled my Chevy Cruze down the hill on our street in our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood when we saw the lights.

Standing on guard.

Standing on guard.

The emergency vehicles were on our street. Yes, the flashing lights belonged to a fire truck. Wasn’t that in front of the Little Bitty?

Our hearts jumped. Was Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle OK? Was our cherished house in trouble? I pulled over by the apartment building across the street and we surveyed the situation. An emergency worker in uniform and a helmet said it was OK to pull into our driveway. We saw Good Neighbor Tim and Wonderful Wife Lorraine standing in their front yard. Sparks were coming from an overhead power line, they explained.

Sparks fly on our street.

Sparks fly on our street.

Out came my iPhone 6 at first.

Then I went inside to grab my new iPad Pro to take aim at the National Grid man on his lift, working to disengage the troublesome power line.

He's got the right one.

He’s got the right one.

Once the worker hooked his tool around the sparking line, all the lights on our streets went out.

Some folks stayed outside watching.

Karen and Lorraine share a moment.

Karen and Lorraine share a moment.

Karen told Lorraine how it was not surprising that I knew one of the emergency workers by name. Yes, EMT Sara was a co-reporter with me at the big daily in a previous life.

Went we went back inside the darkening house, Karen said she saw the National Grid guy put a new part in up on the pole.

Soon after, the lights came back on.

Emergency solved.

What was the latest emergency spotted in your neighborhood? Have you ever spotted emergency vehicles in the vicinity of your house? What’s the longest you’ve been without power?

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23 thoughts on “A scary spark on our street in Eastwood

  1. I’m so glad it turned out okay. Those pictures are stunning and a testament to the power of electricity. It deserves total respect. Longest without power was 5 days. It was on Christmas break in sophomore year of HS. I received Purple Rain for Christmas and couldn’t even listen. People didn’t have generators. The silence and darkness were actually beautiful.

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  2. Power outrages unless a super tropical storm are not often here-FPL has fantastic response and equipment to deal with the electricity load (a/c) almost year round here. Last time I recall was 2004- 3 back to back hurricanes our area was without power a few days (I think 2), bottled water, generators, gas were all available on our Coastal beachside locale by National Guard. Still it is a scary thing and sparks flying from an overhead power line could have been much worse indeed. Glad all is well Terp! The Gatorette.

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  3. Hi Mark! Yeah, if you look closely you’ll notice that pole had a transformer on it – they knock down transmission voltage to feed your home the 120 and 240 volts that you use. Typically local transmission lines carry 600 volts in residential neighborhoods. The poles with transformers have more problems because they have more connections and are more complex. Plus the higher the voltage the more likely there is to be arcing to ground – which is likely what you guys saw. I used to haul transformers on a flatbed and they were expensive.

    That one is a pretty small transformer and the bigger the demand they service, the bigger the unit. Transformers for industrial areas are huge and there may e more than one on a pole. Typically you’ll only see a transformer on every third or 4th pole. The bigger they are, the more expensive.When I was the safety director of a trucking company, the owner called one morning and he was furious and needed to vent. Apparently the night before the driver of one of the forestry trucks our company ran in Northern Ontario had stopped for a coffee. It was a “Tye-Crop” set of open top B-trains with a full load of wood chips (100,000 pounds) aboard. They are loaded through the top of the trailer. The driver left the truck running – a no-no but not uncommon – and forgot to set the brakes. While he was inside, the trailers rolled back and eventually struck a big pole with industrial sized transformers on it. The pole broke and the transformers landed inside the trailers, entering through the top. They were a write off. The owner was yelling: “Of all the thousands of poles without transformers, he had to hit one with two industrial units on it. Do you knwo how much that is?” ha!

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  4. We live on the good side of the street, and I am so thankful. Our grid is the one for many schools and most of the fort, so we seldom lose power. Our side of the street is also higher, so we don’t have the flooding our across-the-street neighbors get.
    We had a broken water main a few springs ago. Messy, being without running water for many, many hours. I used a lot of vinegar.

    When I was a teen we had a big ice storm and were without power (and heat) for three days. Most of the city was.

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  5. Glad it all turned out well. So glad Ellie B was OK. Stuff can be replaced!

    We live in an area prone to power outages — tons of trees, tons of wind. Heavy snow. Power used to go out regularly which wouldn’t be so bad except that we have a well and a pump. Therefore no showers, no drinking water, and worst of all — no flushing. Normally power is up and running in less than a day. Once we went for a week though. God it was awful! The power lines around us have been upgraded in the last couple of years, thank god. Now the power rarely goes out!

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  6. Hey mark! Such a small world when you run into folks from previous lives!
    And glad everything worked out – that could have been a bigger problem – and makes me glad to have our lines in the ground – but we still lose power because the main grid that feeds our neighborhoods – well many have poles and so we are all connected.
    And it is pretty awesome how generators are so cheap these days – we have a small (really small) one and while I have never minded paper outages – even during the many days of hurricane Isabelle – it is nice to have a little juice – hope you have a great rest of Juky – hi to K!

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  7. This is a while back, but during an ice storm here that took power lines down all over the city, we didn’t have power for nine days — and we weren’t by any means the last to get power back — for some it was two weeks. Thank goodness for a fireplace, a gas hot water heater, a gas stove top and especially thank goodness for the wonder of hot water bottles! Glad your power wasn’t out long!

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