METHUEN — Hundreds of Methuen residents lost their electricity Wednesday afternoon after a truck hit a utility pole on Danton Drive, according to Jennifer Bray, spokeswoman for National Grid.
This caused another pole, at Danton Drive and Pelham Street, to catch fire, according to police Chief Joseph Solomon. Bray estimated that 1,224 customers in that area lost their power. The incident happened around 4 p.m., she said.
Methuen Engine 1 responded to the fire. Firefighters used a dry chemical extinguisher to knock down the blaze – but that wasn't working, according to Deputy Chief Richard Aziz.
"The electric company said it was OK to use water," Aziz said. That was because the fire was burning fiber optic lines and not primary electrical wires, he explained.
While suppressing the fire did not take long, repairing the damage caused by the incident required much more time by National Grid crews. More than three hours after the truck hit the pole, six National Grid trucks were on Danton Drive.
Crews from Xfinity, Comcast, Verizon and Mirra Fiber Optic Services were also there repairing damage to their lines.
The "vast majority" of affected customers had their power restored within an hour and 40 minutes of the truck hitting the pole, according to Darlene Masse, a National Grid spokeswoman. Another 20 customers were still without power late Tuesday night, but they were expected to have their electricity restored between 11 p.m. and midnight, she said.
That pole that was struck, No. 13, is at the corner of Danton Drive and the entry to a parking lot that is used by tractor trailers making deliveries to Shaw's Supermarkets Distribution Center, located nearby at 100 Danton Drive.