Arcing power lines spark large fire in North Kildonan
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2019 9:27PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:22PM CST
WINNIPEG -- Arcing power lines sparked a large fire in North Kildonan Tuesday night.
“All of a sudden, you could just hear a big boom,” said resident Tracey Pashe. “It was loud. It made the whole house shake.”
The City of Winnipeg said firefighters were called to the area of Devon Avenue and Roch Street at 8:51 p.m.
When crews arrived, the city said they found “significant electrical activity” coming from a downed power line.
“Crews…could see some flames and arcing in the sky from quite a distance,” said Ihor Holowczynksy, assistant chief of fire/rescue operations. “It was quite dramatic. But fortunately no structures were involved.”
Reports of flashing red and orange lights in the sky flooded social media at the time of the fire.
The city said nearby homes on Devon Avenue, Roch Street, and Oakland Avenue were temporarily evacuated “out of an abundance of caution.”
Pashe’s was among the evacuated.
“You could hear the humming coming from the line hitting the ground, it was so loud,” she said. “You could see right over our house the flames shooting up.”
Manitoba Hydro says a tree took out a power line, causing the line to spark on the ground. It said it shut down power to the local feeder to prevent further sparking. As a result, 1,300 customers were without power for several hours. Power has since been restored.
Bruce Owen with Manitoba Hydro says customers should expect additional outages because of the Thanksgiving weekend snowstorm weakening the city’s tree canopy.
“Even with the slightest of wind, these weakened trees can come down take out a power line,” Owen said.
He goes on to remind people that taking photos of these kinds of incidents isn’t always a good idea.
“We can’t stop people from taking pictures or video,” he says. “But be mindful that these lines are live, and there’s a tremendous amount of electricity coming from them.”
Manitoba Hydro says if a power line goes down to stay at least 10 metres away because the ground where the line is lying could be energized. It said if you see a downed powerline, especially if it’s sparking, to call 911.
The city said no injuries were reported in this incident.