Patriots, when skwerls attack, they mean business. Some attacks are random, some are carefully planned and coordinated. All are meant to spread squirrel world domination.
But some attacks aren't what they seem. Consider the following news brief. It recounts a seemingly random attack by a slobbering nutzy on an elderly woman's home.
According to the report, a bushytailed tree rat sabotaged a power line causing a power surge. The surge caused the woman's home to catch fire and explode...
CENTERVILLE EXPLOSION: Squirrel blamed for massive blast that destroyed a home and injured several firefighters
Aaron Brilbeck Staff Writer, 13WHO-TV, Des Moines, Iowa
8:51 AM CDT, September 28, 2010
CENTERVILLE - A home exploded in Centerville, sending five firefighters and a bystander to the hospital. And investigators say a squirrel is to blame for the blast.
"All of the sudden, I guess the best way to explain it is all hell broke loose," says Assistant Fire Chief Nick Hindley, who was in the home when it exploded. The blast was so powerful it blew part of the roof right off.
"There was a loud explosion," Hindley explains, "I felt the floor move. The walls moved. I could see the one bedroom wall to my right. It had cracked and had flames coming out of it."
All of the firefighters made it out after the blast. Some suffered minor burns, bumps and bruises but all are alright. Investigators told the homeowner that a tiny squirrel is to blame.
"The squirrel crossed the power lines up there," homeowner David Howell explains, pointing to the singed power poll and melted electrical lines, "Down to the switch looking for a ground and jumped into this line that went under the house and followed that line all the way under ground till it got to the corner of the house where the gas line was sitting on top of the electrical service."
The squirrel apparently caused a power surge that threw 7600 volts of electricity into the house through underground lines, starting the fire. The fire burned through the gas line, leading to the explosion. Howell's mother lives in the house. Fortunately she was on her daily walk when the fire started.
Was this horrific event simply a matter of a dim-watt skwerlball being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was it a targeted assault by the bushytail horde on the victim's home. Or was the attack part of the maniacal nutzys' world-wide efforts to destroy humankind?
Long-time Patriots already know the answer to the forgoing questions. But for others, a short history lesson is in order:
On August 14, 2003, a massive power outage hit the Northeastern United States as well as parts of Canada (see map of area affected).
In the aftermath, a US-Canada Power System Outage Task Force issued a final report in February 2004 that essentially blamed a tree for initiating a series of events that collapsed the Northeastern power grid.
At the time, scary squirrel world succinctly and objectively pointed out that the "Single Tree Theory" had been foisted on the public before (e.g. the untimely death of pop star turned politician Sonny Bono whose fatal skiing accident was blamed on a tree). More importantly, we challenged the Task Force to consider this undeniable fact: many kinds of skwerls live in trees and that it was a skwerlien terrorist act of aggression that caused the blackout using the tree as a patsy.
Of course, our report, Hi-Voltage Hijinks - the switch is on, but for how long?, was ignored and suspressed. National Forest Service spokesperson, Ranger Bob Woodward, went so far as to say the report was "the delusional fantasy of barely cognizant minds."
So, we set about to track drooling chitterbox attacks on utility lines, electrical substations, and other electrical power facilities around the world. A chronological list of skwerlien attacks on electric infrastucture from March 2004 through May 2007 follows. It's a lenghty list and we don't expect you to read each entry, but it demonstrates the enorimity of the problem:
- May 31, 2007: Gainesville, GA - It wasn't the weather, it wasn't a traffic accident, it was a squirrel that caused a major power outage in portions of White and Hall Counties.
- May 30, 2007: Seattle, WA - About 1,600 Puget Sound Energy customers lost power Tuesday morning after a "little critter" climbed into an electrical substation at 683 Seventh Ave. N. and short-circuited the system, utility officials said.
- May 23, 2007: Falls Church, VA - His son saw the squirrel running across a power line; when it touched the
transformer, the squirrel erupted in a fireball...
- May 01, 2007: Bellingham, WA - Nearly 4000 Bellingham residents lost power this morning after a squirrel damaged equipment in a substation, knocking out traffic lights at several major intersections.
- April 23, 2007: Dover, NH - Residents in Dover, Rochester, Rollinsford and Somersworth were without electricity for nearly an hour Sunday morning after a squirrel caused a problem.
- April 21, 2007: Fond du Lac, WI - A squirrel caused a power outage Friday night that affected 760 residents in
Fond du Lac, according to Alliant Energy.
- April 17, 2007: Great Falls, MT - Northwestern Energy spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said around 9:35 am, a squirrel got into the east side substation, causing the substation and the five...
- April 12, 2007: Greenville, NC - Electrical crews found a dead squirrel on a voltage regulator at the power
plant substation on Greenville Boulevard that shorted out the ground on a transformer.
- March 26, 2007: FORT WAYNE, Ind - A squirrel was blamed for an outage that left more than 2700 Fort Wayne customers without power for nearly two hours.
- March 26, 2007: Corvallis, OR - About 10681 customers lost power when a squirrel entered a substation and opened a fuse, according to Pacific Power spokeswoman Bekki Witt.
- March 25, 2007: Fort Wayne, IN - A squirrel was the cause of a power outage that left more than 2700 Fort Wayne
customers without power Sunday afternoon, an Indiana Michigan Power spokesman said.
- March 23, 2007: Baldwin City, KS - Squirrel blamed partly for Thursday night power outage...
- March 20, 2007: Midland, TX - A transformer at the Wentwood substation was "tripped out" due to a squirrel making contact with a 12.5 KV (kilovolt) switch.
- March 19, 2007: Tucson, AZ - Some 13000 households on Tucson's Northwest Side went without power for more
than five hours Sunday after a squirrel damaged equipment at an electrical substation.
- March 15, 2007: Eau Claire, WI - An Xcel energy representative says around one o'clock a squirrel caused equipment problems at their substation in Hallie, triggering a power loss.
- March 13, 2007: Portland, OR - Thanks to a squirrel, a big share of the homes in the wild and wooly rodeo town of Pendleton went dark Monday evening.
- February 07, 2007: Escanaba, MI - A squirrel was the cause of a brief power outage that affected some
residents and businesses in Escanaba around noon on Tuesday...
- January 18, 2007: Oroville, CA - Tuesday's widespread power outage in Oroville and surrounding areas was caused
by a squirrel, according to Pacific Gas & Electric.
- January 13, 2007: Terre Haute, IN - An ill-fated squirrel wreaked havoc at the Allendale substation Friday,
causing a major electrical power outage that affected 4400 customers and three schools.
- January 11, 2007: New Philadelphia, OH - A squirrel caused a minor electrical power outage on E. 14th St. in Dover
Tuesday afternoon. A resident of the area reported to police that she heard a loud...
- January 10, 2007: Amarillo,TX - Animalistic attacks on the power grid continued Tuesday when a suicide
squirrel took out electric service to 4564 customers in southwest Amarillo...
- January 10, 2007: Sonora, CA - Believe it or not a squirrel has caused a power outage affecting
some 330 PG& E. customers in the Phoneix Lake Rd, Bellview Oaks and Crystal Falls areas.
- January 06, 2007: MARLBOROUGH, MA - Approximately 100 Marlborough households were without power
shortly before noon today after a squirrel grounded an electrical wire on Church Street.
- December 28, 2006: La Crosse, WI - A squirrel has turned out the lights in south La CRosse. Xcel energy tells us
that a squirrel has apparently fried himself on a transformer at a substation. Fifty seven hundred customers were without power.
- December 20, 2006: Iowa City, IA - A squirrel is to blame for a downed power line late Tuesday morning in Solon
that blacked out more than 800 residences and businesses, an Alliant Energy
- December 18, 2006: Scranton, PA - A squirrel came in contact with a power line Monday morning,
causing a brief but substantial outage in downtown and the lower Hill Section.
- December 13, 2006: Lafayette, LA - A squirrel crossing a power line on Gilman Street near Cora Drive left 10,165 LUS customers in the dark this morning. The outage occurred at 9:41 a.m. with power back up to about 9,000 customers within six minutes, said Terry Huval, LUS executive director.
- December 13, 2006: Centralia, IL - A squirrel that was electrocuted and caught fire when getting into contact with a transformer on Mitchell Drive in Centralia yesterday morning is blamed for starting a fire and knocking out power.
- December 09, 2006: Twin Falls,ID - The lights are back on after a squirrel jumping on power equipment knocked out power to 6,500 Twin Falls residents yesterday.
- December 01, 2006: Ithaca,NY - A squirrel was to blame for a power outage in the city's south end and surrounding communities Thursday morning, according to Bob Pass, regional manager for community outreach and development at New York State Electric and Gas .
The squirrel got into NYSEG's South Hill substation capacitor bank, interrupting service to both the 607 and 608 circuits and leaving more than 2,500 customers without power from 8:30-10:45 a.m., Pass said. "The squirrel caused considerable damage to our energy-delivery facilities," he said.
- November 13, 2006: Vernon, CT - A squirrel was responsible for a Sunday morning electrical transformer explosion on East Main Street, which knocked out power throughout the area and closed the road for several hours, police said. Police were called to the area around 220 E. Main St. - near Roosevelt Mills - shortly after 7:15 a.m. after receiving a report of a transformer explosion and wires down.
- November 11, 2006: Terre Haute,IN - Things were a little squirrelly for some Hautians on Friday. About 1,400 people were left in the dark after a squirrel got inside a transformer and knocked out power on the city’s north side. The squirrel died.
- October 27, 2006: Hanover,NH - A squirrel's venture onto a power line caused several residences on the north and west sides of campus to lose power for approximately one hour on Thursday afternoon. Dartmouth student Jerry Gao '10 said he was unaffected by the outage. "I was in my room doing nothing, and now I'm doing nothing," Gao said.
- October 26, 2006: Boston, MA - The city has one fewer squirrel. Nearly 13,000 households and
businesses lost power Sunday after a squirrel was electrocuted at a National Grid substation.
- October 23, 2006: Brockton, MA - Nearly 13,000 National Grid customers were left in the dark Sunday morning after a squirrel was electrocuted at the DuPont substation at Hudson and Summer streets on the East Side. "The squirrel died," National Grid spokeswoman Elise DelBarrone said.
- October 17, 2006: Ithaca,NY - A squirrel that made its way into an electrical-transmission substation interrupted power Friday morning to 10,000 customers south of Ithaca.
- October 17, 2006: Midland, TX - The southwest part of Midland was without power for about half an hour Monday, thanks to a bird and squirrel. TXU restored power at 11:35 a.m., Mike Nieto, area manager of TXU Electric Delivery, said. Some 16,245 customers, including 12 schools, were affected, officials said. The cause of the outage is being investigated, but a bird and squirrel were found on above ground substation equipment in the 3500 block of West Cuthbert Avenue, Nieto said.
- October 17, 2006: St. Paul, MN - A rather "industrious" squirrel rummaging around a Roseville substation caused an electricity outage this afternoon that left 2,422 customers without juice for less than an hour, Xcel Energy said. The 2:09 p.m. outage was centered around Rosedale Center mall, affecting some businesses, such as JC Penny and Don Pablo's restaurant, but not others, such as Macy's, according officials with the utility, the mall and stores.
- October 16, 2006: Vestal, NY - The power went off at 9:05 am today after a squirrel caused damage to the Castle Gardens substation, said NYSEG spokesman Alan Hertel.
- October 13, 2006: Binghampton, NY - A squirrel on a "power trip" is to blame for the paper's late delivery and skimpy size yesterday morning.
- October 09, 2006: Tallahassee,FL - If you were caught in rush hour traffic this morning, a squirrel, a hawk and a fallen tree limb triggered the inconvenience.
- October 09, 2006: Crookston,MN - A power pole, an electrocuted squirrel, and on the ground nearby, a nibbled-on muffin...
- October 02, 2006: Michiana, IN - The power cut around 5pm Sunday afternoon to 4200 Indiana Michigan Power customers in both St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties. It's the second time this weekend a squirrel knocked a substation in Michiana off-line. Rick Finley watched some watched some drivers struggle after signals went down. He says, "Everybody's been crazy, nobody stopped, everyone just goes. Surprised there hasn't been an accident yet. The power's been out for an hour already, it's pretty wild out there."
- September 27, 2006: Gaston, NC - A squirrel caused an early-morning power outage in west Gastonia, said Earl Goldsmith, operations supervisor for City of Gastonia Electric. About 4,000 customers were left without power for about an hour. Gastonia Electric serves more than 28,000 customers in Gastonia. "It got burnt really bad," said Goldsmith, who said the animal ran off into the woods. "I don't think it will make it. Most of them don't."
- September 25, 2006: LaSalle, IL - Squirrel blamed for three-hour outage in Spring Valley. A squirrel accidentally electrocuted itself at the south Greenwood Street substation, causing a three-hour power outage that began at 9:19 am.
- September 22, 2006: Ashville, NC - A squirrel caught in the insulation at the West Asheville substation along Riverside Drive cut power this morning to much of the city.
- September 20, 2006: Carmel, IN - More than 3,700 customers lost power for half an hour this afternoon in
the northwest part of Carmel when a squirrel snuck into a substation.
- September 14, 2006: Chico,CA - A wayward squirrel fried by a transformer caused a power outage in downtown
and south Chico this morning, causing homes and businesses to start the day in the dark.
- September 06, 2006: Hopewell, NJ - A squirrel was apparently the cause of a power outage that left roughly 158 Atlantic City Electric customers along Route 49 without power Tuesday.
- September 03, 2006: Tyler, Tx - A fire spread over thirty acres in East Texas, damaging eleven cars, a motorcycle and a house in the process, while volunteer firefighters struggled to control the blaze. And the cause of the conflagration? A squirrel. Texan news station KLTV reports that the fire was started by a squirrel walking along a power line. As regular readers will be able to guess, the suicide squirrel's next move was to jump into a transformer. This caused the squirrel to catch fire. The squirrel, once ablaze, promptly fell off the transformer, where the dry conditions helped the fire to spread.
- September 01, 2006: Hillsboro,OR - A squirrel reaching from a live wire to a grounded transformer at the Washington County Fair Complex caused a connection that wasn't supposed to be, electrocuting the bushy tailed critter and knocking out power to 110 of Portland General Electric's Hillsboro customers for about two hours Tuesday. The squirrel did not survive, said PGE spokesperson Steve Corson.
- August 31, 2006: Bellingham,WA - The cause of the outage was most likely a squirrel that got into the equipment at the Mackenzie Substation and cut off power shortly before 8 am.
- August 30, 2006: Connellsville,PA - Janice Lantz, a spokeswoman for Allegheny Power, said a squirrel came in contact and knocked out a switch at the York Run Substation south of Uniontown and west of Route 119 at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The result was almost 5,000 Allegheny Power customers at the south end of Uniontown toward Fairchance losing electricity.
- August 23, 2006: Bay City,TX - Many residents and businesses in Bay City lost power this morning in a widespread outage across town. A squirrel crawled into the substation and tripped a breaker, said Bay City Mayor Richard Knapik. More than half the city lost power.
- August 22, 2006: Blakely, PA - A squirrel is to blame for a power outage Tuesday morning in the Midvalley. About 3,850 homes and businesses in Archbald, Jessup, Scott Township and Blakely lost power between 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., when PPL officials said a squirrel came in contact with a transformer at Eynon’s South Main Street substation.
- August 15, 2006: Sevier County, AK - A County Courthouse in Sevier County, Arkansas was the latest site to fall victim the the Squirrel Menace on Sunday, when its electrical power was disrupted by a suicide squirrel which took out the courthouse transformer. County judge Dick Tallman described the squirrel as a 'kamikaze rodent', reports the Texarkana Gazette.
- August 15, 2006: Exeter, UK - More than 10,000 homes were left without electricity after a power cut caused by a squirrel. The rodent climbed a 12-metre (39ft) wooden pylon and touched two live conductors - one with its paw and the other with its tail.
- August 14, 2006: Maple Ridge, BC, Canada - A squirrel paid with its life Monday for causing a power failure in Maple Ridge that briefly left 16,000 BC Hydro customers without electricity. The squirrel got into a Hydro substation by squeezing through a fence, climbed onto a piece of equipment, received a severe electric shock and tripped a breaker, said Hydro spokeswoman Elisha Moreno. Asked about a fire reported at the substation, Moreno said, "That would be the squirrel." Some Hydro equipment was scorched but there was no major damage. The squirrel was toast.
- August 13, 2006: Ottawa, Canada - An overly curious squirrel nearly stranded travellers at Ottawa airport when it caused a power outage Sunday morning.
- August 10, 2006: Mission City, B.C., Canada - A power outage last Thursday morning was caused by a squirrel, according to a BC Hydro spokeswoman.
- July 17, 2006: Bangor, WS - Nineteen hours. That's how long Bangor residents and businesses had to go without electricity. Apparently at about 8:30am on Saturday a squirrel damaged a substation serving 5,300 utility customers.
- July 15, 2006: Redlands,CA - Residents had a close call during a 575-acre fire. After an investigation, the Fire Department determined that a fire had been started by a squirrel that made contact with a high-voltage line.
- June 19, 2006: Hagerstown, MD - About 1,000 Hagerstown Light Department customers lost power this morning when a
squirrel got into a substation and knocked out power
- June 15, 2006: Wilmington, DE - A squirrel crossing a breaker knocked out to power to more than 2,000 residents and affected morning commuters.
- June 14, 2006: McConnellsburg, PA - A squirrel that entered an Allegheny Energy Inc. substation Tuesday afternoon caused a power outage that affected 3,612 customers.
- June 13, 2006: Beaver County, PA - Joe Balaban, spokesman for Duquesne Light Co., said the squirrel somehow
scampered into a piece of equipment on a pole which led to a power outage to 1,600.
- June 08, 2006: Sioux City, IA - More than 50 Sioux City customers were without power for about 45 minutes this morning. A squirrel came into contact with MidAmerican Energy equipment and caused a short circuit at about 8:15 a.m., affecting 56 customers along Grandview Boulevard between 29th and 31st streets, said Mark Reinders, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy.
- May 09, 2006: Montreal, Quebec, Canada - So was this some kind of delinquent squirrel just trying to get out of writing a test?
That's what enquiring minds want to know after about 1,200 students were prevented from attending classes at John Rennie High School on Tuesday when a squirrel chewed through an electrical wire and left much of the school without electricity.
- April 30, 2006: Bremerton, WA - Live racing at Emerald Downs was canceled Saturday due to a power outage that also temporary blacked out 200 area homes. Puget Sound Energy said the outage was caused by a squirrel.
- April 27, 2006: Newburgh, NY - It was lights out for about 5,100 Central Hudson customers in the city and town of Newburgh this morning. The culprit was a squirrel that found its way into the utility's Balmville substation and triggered the power outage. Central Hudson spokesman John Maserjian said the substation is equipped with squirrel guards - screens meant to keep out squirrels and other small, inquisitive animals - but this one somehow found its way past the system.
- April 26, 2006: Aberdeen,SD - Squirrel causes power outage in eastern part of Aberdeen. Mike Kelly, operations manager of Northern Electric Cooperative, said a squirrel dug into an underground termination poll, causing the outage around 9:30 am.
- April 25, 2006: Red Bluff,CA - squirrel puts out power to 2,500 users. Three lines of 12,000 volts lead out of the substation to carry power to the area. A squirrel was running around inside the framework and caused fuses to blow.
- April 11, 2006: Fargo,ND - Damage caused by a squirrel knocked out power to 3,500 Cass County Electric Cooperative customers Monday morning.
- ED. NOTE: DATA FROM AUGUST '05 TO APRIL '06 MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED FROM OUR DATA BASE!
- August 03, 2005: So. Lake Tahoe, CA - A squirrel was blamed for a power outage at South Lake Tahoe that left about 3,200 Sierra Pacific Power Co. customers without electricity. Power was restored Tuesday after about 25 minutes, utility officials said. South Lake Tahoe firefighters and Sierra Pacific said the squirrel was on wires atop the power pole when it was electrocuted, caught fire and fell to the ground, causing a fire around the power pole. Nearby residents used fire extinguishers to douse the flames before firefighters arrived.
- July 30, 2005: Red Bluff, CA - A power outage Friday morning on Highway 99E was caused by a squirrel, according to PG&E spokesperson Lisa Randle. The squirrel caused a short that blew a fuse. Approximately 126 customers were without power from 8:38 to 10:05 a.m.
- July 28, 2005: New Albany, IN - According to Cinergy District Manager Kevin Hammersmith, a squirrel got into a substation on Slate Run Road and knocked out four circuits around 9:30 a.m. He said about 3,500 customers were without power for about an hour until Cinergy technicians repaired the circuits.
- July 25, 2005: Traverse City, MI - A wildfire in Grand Traverse county scorched a dozen acres of healthy land. The DNR says a squirrel on a transformer led to the blaze Saturday morning on Barney road in Long Lake township. The fire spread quickly, threatening nearby homes.
- July 20, 2005: Grand Ledge,MI - More than 4,900 Consumers Energy customers temporarily lost power Tuesday because a squirrel scurried too close to an electrical substation.
- July 19, 2005: Osoyoos, British Columbia - Firefighters are blaming a flaming squirrel for starting a small bush fire in Osoyoos yesterday. Firefighters were called to a fruit-packing operation in the Okanagan orchard city after a squirrel on a power transmission line caught fire, fell into the brush below, and sparked the blaze. The situation is not unusual, however. A squirrel is always found at the base of the pole, dead and burnt, he said.
- July 17, 2005: Grand Rapids, MI - Long before thunderstorms rolled through the area Saturday, some Northeast Grand Rapids homes and businesses lost power when a squirrel caused a power outage...
- July 11, 2005: Raleigh,NC - A squirrel was the cause of a major power outage today affecting 11,500 energy customers, according to a Progress Energy spokesperson. The squirrel got into a transformer breaker at the Leesville Road substation at the West Raleigh Operations Center, Progress Energy says. The energy company says that they have equipment to keep critters out, but that nothing is 100 percent effective.
- July 07, 2005: Bangor,ME - Squirrel cuts power in Brewer, Orrington...Electric Co. spokeswoman Kathy Billings said a squirrel was messing with wiring at the Tibbetts Street substation in South Brewer.
- June 11, 2005: Plano, TX - A squirrel knocked out power briefly Saturday morning for 3,100 TXU Energy customers in and around downtown Plano.
- June 07, 2005: Coventry, UK - An explosion at an electricity substation which caused damage put at £250,000 and blacked out homes has been blamed on a squirrel. The animal jumped into the London Road station, in Coventry, causing a major shortcircuit on Sunday. Danny Moynihan, from Radford Road Fire Station, said the squirrel, which did not survive the escapade, caused the "massive explosion".
- June 03, 2005: Michigan City, IN - Fried squirrel shuts down court... Justice ground to a halt Thursday when a squirrel tangled in some NIPSCO electrical wires caused a power outage.
- May 22, 2005: Burlington, IA - A squirrel caused a power outage for about 73 Alliant Energy customers early Saturday morning near South Seventh and Wightman streets.
- May 20, 2005: Blacksburg, Radford, and parts of Montgomery VA - A squirrel and a snapped utility pole knocked out power to nearly 7,000 customers in Blacksburg, Radford, and parts of Montgomery on Friday.
- May 16, 2005: Newburgh, NY - Central Hudson says that power outage this morning that got you bogged down in Route 9W traffic a little longer than usual, or caused you to miss the end of "Regis & Kelly" or the beginning of "Ellen," was the doing of an inquisitive squirrel who had an unfortunate encounter with power lines.
- March 31, 2005: Valley City, ND - An inquisitive squirrel is getting the blame for a power outage in Valley City early Thursday morning. According to Public Works department head Stan Hansen, shortly before 8 a.m., electrical service was shut off for residents in the northwest part of the town.
- March 18, 2005: Portsmouth, NH - About 490 customers lost power on Thursday morning when a squirrel got into a transformer station and caused an explosion. The outage happened at about 8:30 a.m. at the Cutts Street Power Substation and affected customers in the downtown section of the city in the vicinity of the substation.
- February 28, 2005: Fairfield, IA - A power outage Friday afternoon in the western section of Fairfield was caused by a squirrel that found its way into a substation on the west side of town and caused a fuse to blow.
- February 24, 2005: Lawrence, KS - Here's a new excuse Kansas University faculty might soon hear: A squirrel ruined my homework. Power was cut to the eastern half of campus and about 4,000 nearby homes for about an hour by a squirrel that got into an electrical transformer at 1523 19th St.
- February 22, 2005: Morgan City, LA - Some Morgan City residents along and between Front and Second streets lived without power for about two hours Tuesday afternoon, thanks to an unfortunate squirrel.
- January 21, 2005: Portland, OR - Squirrel to blame for Northeast Portland power outage... About 5,000 customers were affected when the power shut off at 2:30 p.m. in the Hollywood district. Pacific Power says a squirrel crawled into a switch at a substation, causing the outage.
- December 16, 2004: Decatur, LA - TVA recommends squirrel-proofing measures after costly power outage: A power outage that left hundreds of customers without power for an hour or more around noon on Oct. 21 is costing Decatur Utilities $22,200 and the Tennessee Valley Authority $15,000, DU officials said Wednesday.
- December 14, 2004: Council Bluffs, IA - It might help if squirrels would learn that nuts don't grow on power poles.Students sat in the dark for several hours on Friday at Lewis Central's Titan Hill Intermediate School after a squirrel got into a power transformer...
- December 07, 2004: Alameda, CA - A squirrel and a meandering bunch of balloons caused two separate Island power failures Sunday, keeping thousands of families in the dark.
- November 18, 2004: Taunton, MA - A wayward squirrel caused a major power outage in East Taunton yesterday morning, temporarily knocking out power in hundreds of homes and business.
- November 17, 2004: Winchester, KY - According to Cliff Feltham, spokesperson for KU, a squirrel got into one of the utility's substation's around 12:15 p.m. Monday, shutting 2,540 customers' power off.
- November 16, 2004: Kingston, Ontario, Canada - A wayward squirrel gets the blame for knocking out electricity around the Kingston area this morning.
- November 06, 2004: Waterloo, Iowa - MidAmerican Energy Company officials have determined the cause of a power cable failure that left more than three thousand customers without power was a squirrel.
- October 23, 2004: Bennington, Vermont - It was a bad morning for a local squirrel and about 400 power customers in the Northside Drive area on Friday.
- October 21, 2004: Decatur, Alabama - You can call him Flash, Zippy or Sparky. If he's alive, maybe you can call him Lucky. But whatever his name, it seems that a squirrel knocked out power to a third of Decatur around 11 a.m. Wednesday for nearly two hours in some areas, according to Decatur Utilities officials.
- October 19, 2004: Edinburgh, Scotland - More than a thousand homes and businesses had their power cut off when a squirrel climbed to a fuse box and tripped the system, it emerged today. The animal was electrocuted after clambering to pole-top steelwork which houses fuses. While its feet touched the steel, its tail brushed a live conductor.
- October 17, 2004: Lexington, Kentucky - Kentucky Utilities employees told Keeneland officials that a squirrel apparently chewed through the insulation on a high voltage line...
- October 07, 2004: Wayne, Pennsylvania - Squirrel zaps power in Wayne. 5000 electric customers lost power when a squirrel snuck into a PECO Energy Co. substation for a snack.
- October 06, 2004: Salem, Oregon - A squirrel caused Monday's power outage in downtown Salem by shorting out most of a major substation, Portland General Electric officials said.
- October 05, 2004: Cape Girardeau, MO - A squirrel that crept into a transformer is responsible for a power outage at Southeast Missouri State University's campus Tuesday evening, leaving thousands of students and hundreds of concert-goers in the dark for hours.
- September 28, 2004: Tuscola, Illinois - For many Tuscola residents and business people, they were just getting their morning started Friday, Sept. 24 when electricity disappeared around 7:30 a.m. Turns out the culprit was a seemingly harmless, and now very deceased, squirrel.
- September 26, 2004: Jackson, MI - A squirrel was believed to have tripped Saturday afternoon's power outage affecting 4,400 customers on the west side of Jackson.
- September 16, 2004: Providence, RI - A squirrel climbed up a pole and onto overhead equipment on Water Street, causing the power outage.
- September 14, 2004: Cape Girardeau, MO - Thanks to a flash-fried fur ball, about 4,500 Cape Girar-deau AmerenUE customers were without electricity for more than an hour Monday morning.
- September 08, 2004: American Canyon (Napa), California - A squirrely little varment caused mass havoc in American Canyon, cutting off power to thousands of PG&E customers early Tuesday morning.
- August 31, 2004: Brockton, MA - It might sound a little nutty to the thousands of people who sweated out a power outage Monday evening, but the sudden loss of electricity on a sweltering day was caused by a squirrel, a Massachusetts Electric Co. official said.
- August 27, 2004: Kaukauna, WI - A squirrel is being blamed for a power outage that cut electricity to about 400 customers Thursday.
- August 26, 2004: VANCOUVER, Wash. - A hungry squirrel has been blamed for a power outage that snarled rush-hour traffic in this city north of Portland, Ore. Electricity was cut for about an hour Wednesday morning to about 5,145 residential and business customers after the rodent caused a short circuit at a substation.
- July 29, 2004: South Burlington, Vermont - 3,700 residents lost power after a squirrel shorted out the Dorset Street Substation. The outage was also responsible for three accidents, including one with injuries.
- July 28, 2004: Melbourne, Florida - A curious squirrel left nearly 8,300 people without power after somehow getting into a Florida Power & Light Co. substation and shorting out the equipment, officials said. Traffic lights along the U.S. 1 corridor were also out for thousands of motorists on their morning commutes.
- July 15, 2004: Hibbing, MN - Most of the city of Hibbing was left without power for approximately one hour Thursday morning. "We lost a single main feeder due to an undetermined cause right now," said PUC Executive Director Jim Kochevar. "We had a report of a transformer pop. A customer called it in, this particular call had a report of a fried squirrel with it."
- July 13, 2004: St. Clairesville, Ohio - A rogue squirrel was cited as the cause of a morning power outage in St. Clairsville Monday, when scores of businesses east of the city - including those in the Ohio Valley Mall - were forced to close temporarily.
- July 06, 2004: Quincy, Illinois - A blown transformer near 30th and Maine caused a 90-minute power outage Tuesday. Leigh Morris of Ameren CIPS said 1,046 customers were without power in Quincy. The Quincy Fire Department responded to the scene and said a squirrel got into a transformer box, causing the outage.
- June 29, 2004: Rockford, Illinois - Roughly 1,500 Commonwealth Edison customers lost power Monday when a scampering squirrel interfered with power lines at Madison and Oak streets.
- June 25, 2004: Greenbay, Wisconsin - A wayward squirrel temporarily knocked out power to about 1,000 Wisconsin Pubic Service customers on the northeast side of Green Bay Friday evening.
- June 25, 2004: Chetek, Wisconsin - A nosy squirrel was responsible for a loss of power to many City of Chetek residences and businesses Friday, June 25. Electricity to 1,738 customers was cut shortly after 8 a.m.
- June 16, 2004: Newton, Kansas - A blown switch at the substation forced much of Newton to function without electricity for hours Wednesday. A squirrel apparently had gotten itself caught between live electricity and a grounding mechanism, destroying an insulator. Neighbors to the substation said they heard a loud bang and saw white smoke when it happened.
- May 28, 2004: Castleton, Indiana - About 500 customers on the city's Northeastside lost electrical power this morning when a squirrel interfered with an electrical line.
- May 28, 2004: Leavenworth, Kansas - A squirrel was blamed for a loss of electricity to about 3,700 power company customers Wednesday in Leavenworth. The creature managed to get inside a substation. Power was lost at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to an area that stretched north from Spruce Street to downtown. Neighborhoods to the west were also affected.
- May 20, 2004: SARNIA, Canada - A squirrel was responsible for setting off a massive flare at Imperial Oil's refinery yesterday. The creature was climbing on an electric power line shortly after noon when a power surge tripped three compressors in a unit in the refinery's chemicals division.
- May 14, 2004: An outage in the morning left more than 9,000 customers in the Shamokin-Coal Township area of Pennsylvania without power when a squirrel entered the Fairview substation and caused a short circuit which knocked the substation off line.
- May 01, 2004: Squirrel on wires delays trains - a squirrel on the wires above the New York-bound local track in New Rochelle, N.Y. caused an insulator to explode, killing the animal and breaking a wire in half, according to Marjorie Anders, a Metro-North spokeswoman.
- April 20, 2004: Squirrel causes power outage in Indiana - Power for most of South Bend's west side went out morning after AEP officials say a squirrel got into a substation.
- April 17, 2004: Lights out, for squirrel too - A squirrel climbed into an electric switch, caused the circuit to arc, and apparently fried itself in the process. That knocked out power to 1,150 customers, including the County Government Complex off Mounts Bay Road in James City, Virginia.
- April 12, 2004: Squirrel in substation kills power - A squirrel was the cause of a power outage in much of Yreka, California Sunday afternoon (click skwerl for comment about attacking power grid - 150k wav).
- March 27, 2004: Squirrel zaps power grid - A squirrel out for an early morning saunter caused a power outage Friday that spread from the State Capitol complex in Helena to Montana City.
- March 29, 2004: Frying squirrel blamed for Sunday power outage - A squirrel that got into a substation on West Columbia Street in Roosevelt Park, Michigan was being blamed for the outage that lasted from 12:08 p.m. until 5:39 p.m.
- March 10, 2004: Squirrel knocks out power to 13,000 - A single squirrel knocked out electricity to a large portion of northern Crow Wing County Minnasota.
- March 05, 2004: Squirrel KO's towns' power - Power was knocked out in several New Hampshire communities for more than two hours Wednesday morning, thanks to the antics of an adventurous squirrel.
Source: all incidents confirmed via Google News Search and Alerts
Patriots, this brings us back to our original questions. Was this horrific event simply a matter of a dim-watt skwerlball being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was it a targeted assault by the bushytail horde on the victim's home. Or was the attack part of the maniacal nutzys' world-wide efforts to destroy humankind?
We think it's clear that the assault on Ms. Howell's home was no accident. It is plausible that the home's gas line was "sitting on top of the electrical service" leading to the explosion.
However, isn't it more probable that the nutzy saboteur scampered down the utility pole, gamboled across the yard, chewed a hole in the gas line and/or planted an explosive device to facilitate the subsequent blast, and made good its getaway in the resulting confusion.
Unfortunately, there are no witnesses to the forgoing crime. However, the plausibleness and probablity of the squirrels final felonious assault is demonstrated in the following video of another nutzy caught in the act...
Firebug squirrel makes good its getaway
FOOTNOTE - THE LEGEND OF THROW-DOWN SKWERL
So ubiquitous is the problem of skwerls attacking electrical installations and sabotaging lines, that utility companies spend millions per year repairing the nutzy damage and trying to prevent attacks.
In fact, there's even an urban myth, the "Throw Down Squirrel." As the story goes, some utility company workers carry a cooler with a previously electrocuted squirrel in it to outage sites.
Oftentimes, the power outage can't be readily explained to upset customers. To placate them, the worker retrieves the dead squirrel from the cooler, holds it up, and declares that the squirrel caused the outage.