While the country is watching the power outages and other impacts of Hurricane Ida in the Gulf Coast, thousands of Broome County residents were wondering just what happened to cause a massive power outage during fair weather Sunday night.

The mystery is solved with word that an unwanted, furry visitor's fatal curiosity was all it took to plunge thousands into the dark.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)
Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News (file)

Power suddenly went out without so much as a flicker of the lights at around 9:49 p.m. August 29 in Johnson City, Vestal and parts of the Town of Union.

New York State Electric and Gas initially reported some 10,000 customers were without power.  The NYSEG phone app. advised that restoration was expected by 12:30 a.m. but most had service restored in about an hour.

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The NYSEG initial information only said the utility was investigating the cause of the interruption and Broome County Emergency Services early August 30 said they had gotten no word about the source of the problem.  Some residents in the affected areas said they heard “loud booms” that sounded almost like a shotgun blast, apparently as a raccoon got into a NYSEG station and came in contact with equipment.  The critter's body was reportedly found by workers.

Contact with power lines and equipment in substations by wildlife like raccoons and squirrels is, obviously, not unheard of but infrequent.

Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center is located in the area of Johnson City that was plunged into the dark but has back-up power systems to keep the hospital operating during power outages.

Something that remains a mystery is why some residents felt compelled to head into the darkened streets to light fireworks during the brief outage.

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