Electric Pole Fires Leave Thousands Without Power in Virginia

October 10, 2019

A mixture of salt buildup and light rain has made power poles combustible, causing thousands to lose power in several Virginia cities.

News outlets report multiple power poles caught fire Tuesday causing outages for about 30,000 Dominion Energy customers, mainly in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

Dominion spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley Harris says the recent bout of dry weather and winds carrying salt from the ocean causes salt and dirt to stick to the poles, leading to salt contamination. She says light rain mixed with the salt buildup forced electricity in the poles to find alternate conductive paths, leading to sparks and occasional fires.

Norfolk Fire Rescue says they’ve responded to 22 calls related to pole fires.

Harris says some power was restored but didn’t immediately say when the restoration would be completed.

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