From mid-November through December 2012, power poles in several states mysteriously burst into flames with hundreds igniting in Texas alone. This new and unique phenomenon has officials shocked and puzzled by the outbreak of so many simultaneous power pole fires.
- November 16 – Power poles burning In South Texas (50+)
According to the McAllen Monitor, power poles simultaneously ignited around 3:30 a.m. and 18,000 customers lost power. At one point, roughly one-third of all AEP Texas’ Starr County customers lost electricity.
- Dec 3: Alliance, Ohio
A fire on a 75-ft. power pole knocked out power to downtown Alliance homes and businesses. Firefighters responded to the pole fire outside the Ohio Edison substation shortly before 2 a.m.
- Dec 6 – Power poles burning in North Texas
A power pole fire in North Texas worried officials because it was close to I-30 in Rowlett. Flames partially burned through the pole and it was feared that it would fall across I-30 traffic lanes.
- Dec 6 – Power poles burning in Central Texas
On Thursday morning, about 60 power poles simultaneously caught fire across Central Texas causing power outages in several counties. The first calls came in at around 4:30 a.m. The incident astounded Central Texas law enforcement officials, who had never before seen or heard of anything like the unusual phenomenon.
- Dec 16 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
A power pole fire around 10 p.m. in south Minneapolis cut electricity for 5,600 Xcel Energy customers Saturday night. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
- Dec 18 – Leesburg, Northern Virginia
Around 3:30 a.m. in southeast Leesburg in northern Virginia, a power pole fire left thousands of residents without power. NOVEC utility officials do not know how the fire started, but are investigating the source.
- Dec 20 – Fort Bragg, North Carolina
In just over 20 minutes, a burning power pole in Fort Bragg became a spectacle of arcing wires, exploding breakers, and a power outage that affected about 2,500 customers. Fort Bragg Fire Department responded at 6:46 p.m., and at 7:09 p.m., the top of the pole, which held two transformers and several lines, broke and fell to the ground. PG&E investigators are looking into why the pole caught fire in the first place.
- Dec 27 – Austin, Texas – 50 power pole fires in Austin
For the third time in a month and a half, more than 50 power pole fires simultaneously broke out on Friday morning across Austin. Thousands woke without electricity. Austin Energy said the first power pole fires started around midnight but the majority happened around 5 a.m.
Why are so many power poles simultaneously bursting into flame? What could be the cause? According to officials in Texas, a combination of dust and fog caused the fires. If so, what caused the power pole fires in states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Minnesota where dust and fog are not an issue? Officials in these states are amazed and puzzled by this unusual, never-before experienced phenomenon.
In the words of Texas state trooper D. L. Wilson said, "I can't even say career - not in my lifetime have I heard of this.”
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