Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

If you were wondering why your electricity flickered at about 12:20 p.m. Friday, the reason may surprise you.

Police were called to a transformer pole on 7th Street between C and D streets for a report that a balloon had become caught in the lines. Upon arrival, Police Chief Ivan Minsal and Sgt. Tom Wilson saw a pair of metallic balloons, one caught on the top of the pole and the other, wrapped around the top of the transformer. Just a few feet away, a fuse had not blown but became hot enough to ignite and burn its insulating plastic.

Pacific Power personnel arrived soon after to pull the balloons from the lines and check for problems.

According to the PacPower website, In 2017 there were 17 instances where balloons caused outages somewhere in the three states the company serves. In 2016, there were 26 such outages, roughly the same number of outages as those caused by lightning, it states.

PAcPower advises people to hang onto their balloons. If you notice a balloon near a power line, do not try to retrieve it yourself. Report it to Pacific Power by calling 1-888-221-7070 anytime.