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Squirrel Takes Out Power, Starts Fire Near YHS

Submitted by Diane Mello

OAKHURST – Members of the Hillsborough Neighborhood Watch group are feeling like a lucky bunch today.

Around 7:30 a.m., they experienced an area-wide power outage and began investigating the issue.

Driving through their neighborhood, contacting each other in person and through their established fire call telephone tree list, they determined a small grass fire had started on Road 428 between Road 427 and Hang Tree Lane, directly behind the Yosemite High School football field.

The fire, which was evident on the top of a power pole and on the nearby ground, was immediately reported and contained due to a combination of diligence and luck.

The culprit – a squirrel – had managed to create an explosion, heard by neighbors. The powerline dropped and sparks ignited the pole, which began burning near tree canopies, dry leaves and surrounding brush.

Burn area after squirrel gets into power lines near YHSFortunately, passersby noticed the smoke and luckily had shovels with them from a recent hunting trip. Adjacent neighbors called 911 and alerted other neighbors who stayed in the area to identify the powerline hazard and alert passersby and their neighborhood watch members.

Within minutes the fire was contained to a 10 x 20 foot area and Cal Fire and PG & E responded for cleanup and repair. Power was restored by 10 a.m.

Another example of how important it is to know your neighbors and be willing to get involved, and collaborate to assist each other. As sorry as we are for the squirrel, we are feeling so grateful to our willing and active neighborhood watch team.

And who were those passersby??… Most most grateful to those folks who prevented a near disaster in this hazardous fire season. Hillsborough Neighborhood Watch thanks YOU!

Editor’s note: Though Diane Mello graciously provided us with this story and photos of the incident, we were both concerned with readers’ sensibilities, and opted not to show the squirrel. Suffice it to say, it did not fare well, and was basically barbequed.

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