Power restored at "Y" after squirrel tripped live wire | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Power restored at "Y" after squirrel tripped live wire

A squirrel was the culprit behind a power outage this afternoon that caused about 3,200 Sierra Pacific Power customers to be without electricity along Emerald Bay Road and the ‘Y” at South Lake Tahoe.

Power has since been restored as of 2:45 p.m.

According to police dispatch and confirmed by Sierra Pacific, a power pole caught on fire near Emerald Bay Road at about 1:35 p.m. The fire was quickly doused by nearby residents using fire extinguishers.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene reported seeing a dead squirrel near the power pole. At the same time reports of the power pole fire came into police dispatch, reports of a widespread power outage surfaced, extending from Fifth Street to Emerald Bay and the “Y”.

Dan Thrift, Tahoe Daily Tribune photographer, arrived at the scene with firefighters. He said it appears the squirrel was on wires atop the power pole, was electocuted, caught fire and fell to the ground causing fire around the power pole.

Sierra Pacific Power spokeswoman Faye Andersen confirmed that the squirrel touched a live line, which sparked the outage.

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“This does happen periodically. Poor little guys,” Andersen said. “They get into the lines, sometimes jumping from a tree onto a (live) line.”