Fire at power pole leaves area in dark

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WALLA WALLA - Nearly 2,000 Pacific Power customers started Saturday in the dark after an early morning power pole fire disconnected service to local residents and businesses.

Power was restored by noon, though the majority of customers were up by 10:30 a.m., according to updates from the electric utility.

The failure largely affected customers who receive their power through the utility's Mill Creek substation.

A crew with Walla Walla Fire Department's Wilbur Avenue station was dispatched to the fire at 4:35 a.m. Saturday, an official said. Pacific Power spokeswoman Jan Mitchell said she did not know the cause of the fire.

Mitchell said there had been numerous reports of power failures, but not all were connected to the fire. The largest area of the failures - and ones that likely were related to the blaze - included properties along South Howard, Newell, Whitman, South Division, Lincoln, Craig, and portions of Balm, Juniper, Ankeny, South Wilbur, Garfield, Grant and South Park streets.

Other power failures may have been linked to the wind gusts that hit the area. But the number would have been small, Mitchell said.

Columbia Rural Electric Association reported one power failure when wind dumped a branch into a line southwest of town, said Scott Peters, manager of marketing and member services. Power was restored within an hour.

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