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by David Leone
WAKE FOREST — A 2-to 3-foot-long stick was to blame for Friday’s mid-afternoon power outage in the town’s central business district.
At about 2:40 p.m., a small branch fell off a tree on West Cedar Avenue and caught on a main power line, while also touching a lower power line. That completed a circuit and caused a short.
Shelby Seals, a Wake Forest-Rolesville High junior who was walking home from school, was about 75 feet away when it happened. He saw sparks shooting and smelled burning.
The town’s nearest transformer opened and closed the circuit several times, then shut off. The re-closers are designed to prevent power outages when tree limbs just brush up against the line.
The Wake Forest Fire Department and a Wake Forest Power crew responded. An electric worker was unable to reach the stick with a long pole, so a bucket truck was called in and a crewman removed the stick from the lines.
Electricity was only off for about 20 minutes. People reported outages in downtown Wake Forest, at Gateway Commons Shopping Center and traffic lights on Dr. Calvin Jones Highway.