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Squirrel causes east-end transformer fire that led to power outage

Last Updated May 23, 2019 at 8:43 pm EDT

Hydro wires down on Broadview Avenue after a transformer fire on May 23, 2019. Power is out in a large part of the east end. Image Credit: TWITTER/@msav86

Thousands of east-end residents woke up without power after a transformer fire thanks to a squirrel.

Fire officials were called to the scene on Broadview Avenue and Dundas Street East around 6:45 a.m. Thursday.

Toronto Hydro is putting the blame for the outage on a squirrel but have yet to provide specific details of how it occurred. However, a spokesperson for the utility said this is not something that’s out of the ordinary.

“We take measures to prevent squirrels from causing damage, such as using squirrel guards and additional insulation, but sometimes this happens.”

Toronto Hydro says they have not seen an increase in these type of incidents, with 57 sustained outages due to squirrels in 2018, down from 62 in 2017.

At the height of the outage, almost 4,000 customers were without power. Power was restored to all customers around 8 p.m.

Crews were forced to replace the hydro pole in question which was damaged by the electrical fire.

The power outage covered an area from Gerrard Street in the north down to Lake Shore Boulevard and from the Don Valley Parkway to Woodbine Avenue.

Earlier, the TTC said it was experiencing delays on all streetcar routes, as the outage was affecting streetcars leaving Leslie Barns Carhouse. Service has since resumed, but several routes continue to experience delays as a result of the power outage.