SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 29, 2013

Utility pole fire closes Balch Street in Beverly

By Bethany Bray
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — A very loud electrical buzzing noise could be heard blocks away as a utility pole caught on fire on Balch Street around noon yesterday.

A portion of Balch Street was closed for the entire afternoon as National Grid crews worked to repair the pole, located next to the train tracks behind the Cummings Center.

The pole fire was caused by arcing, when a visible charge of electricity passes from one piece of equipment to another, said David Graves, National Grid spokesperson.

This type of incident “happens infrequently,” he said.

The fire drew a small crowd of curious onlookers as a National Grid worker took a fire extinguisher up in a bucket truck and doused the smoldering pole.

The fire caused the pole’s top crosspiece to become loose and crooked. A portion of the utility pole fell to the ground and damaged a piece of equipment, Graves said.

No residential customers lost power, Graves said, but two industrial customers lost power for roughly one hour, until 1:15 p.m.

Balch Street was closed from the Cummings Center’s rear entrance to Cabot Street/Route 1A past 7 p.m. yesterday.