“Errant Squirrel” Knocks Out Power to Hundreds in Binghamton
Several hundred Binghamton NYSEG residential and business customers were without electric service for more than two hours because of a bushy-tailed rodent.
The outage started around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. According to the utility, It affected sections of eight downtown streets.
A NYSEG spokesperson told WNBF News the trouble was caused by "an errant squirrel." About 535 customers were affected by the outage. Power was restored around 10 a.m.
Police and firefighters were sent to Carroll Street south of the main post office after someone reported a fire on a utility pole following what they believed had been a transformer explosion.
Flames scorched the pole until the fire was extinguished. The body of a squirrel who had come into contact with electrical equipment atop the pole was discovered at the scene.
Hundreds of people in several downtown apartment complexes, including a few high-rise buildings, lost electric service. The fire department checked two elevators in a 10-story Binghamton Housing Authority apartment building to verify that no one was trapped when the power went out.
The Jay's One Stop convenience store at Susquehanna and Exchange streets was closed while there was no electricity.
Police officers directed traffic after signals stopped working at some of the busiest downtown intersections. Public works crews set up portable stop signs at several spots.
Exchange Street, Pine Street, Carroll Street and State Street each had several dozen NYSEG customers affected by the morning outage.
Power outages blamed on animals - especially squirrels - aren't uncommon, although NYSEG and other utilities take steps to protect their equipment from wildlife intrusions.
Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.