Blown Transformer Sparks Fire, Fear - And Action
Ponderosa Cascade Residents Grabbed Their Hoses
It was a hot but quiet Saturday evening in the Ponderosa Cascade neighborhood southeast of Sisters, when all of a sudden -- boom!
?We were having dinner in our backyard with guests, and we heard this big explosion,? Donna Curry recalled a short time later.
The trees blocked their view of the street, but they saw smoke going up, so her husband, Peter Lepanto, ran up to the deck to see what happened.
?As soon as he hit the top of the stairs, he said, ?Call 911 right away!?? she said.
As it turned out, a Central Electric Cooperative transformer box had exploded, and sparked a fire in the adjacent sagebrush and cheatgrass, according to Cloverdale Rural Fire Department Deputy Chief John Thomas.
?The power had gone very briefly at houses several miles away? when the transformer blew, Thomas said. ?Our fire station, in fact. That?s when you put your boots on and say, ?Here it comes.??
Curry said the fire at first began to spread very fast, so they stepped in to try to stop it.
?We got our hoses out there,? she said. ?Our neighbors weren?t home, we got their hoses. Our neighbors across the street got their hoses, too.?
?The thing that really blew my mind is, I didn?t know they could blow up,? Curry said.
But Thomas knew: ?We?ve had several of those, when the load gets heavy.?
Curry said ?a lot of big sages went up and things? when the fire spread in the wind. But the deputy fire chief said only a fairly small area burned: ?Fortunately, the winds weren?t super-high, like it can be. Certainly, it could have been a lot more tragic.?
The resident said firefighters arriving on scene asked if they had the fire under control. ?We said, ?No -- the wind died for a minute.??
Thomas also said he wanted to thank the residents who grabbed their garden hoses to keep the fire at bay until they arrived: ?We always appreciate their help.?
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