Goose cause of fire and power outage at Waipu

Goose cause of fire and power outage at Waipu

21 November 2010

published by www.northernadvocate.co.nz


New Zealand —  Birds of a feather jests were flying thick and fast when Northpower linesman Sam Drake found the culprit responsible for downing power lines and causing a fire near Waipu Cove.

There was a power blackout from Waipu Cove to Waipu when the lines came down about 3pm on Thursday.

And sparks caused by the broken lines started a fire in dry grass and carrot weed alongside Cove Rd.

The Waipu Volunteer Fire Brigade was called and crews in two trucks were sent to douse the spreading flames. But when they got to the scene the firefighters were unable to use their hoses because of fears of electrocution by the broken lines lying on a roadside fence, making it “live”.

Northpower was called and about 25 minutes later, while nearby homeowners looked on and motorists stopped to watch the drama, Mr Drake arrived and switched the power off.

After the firefighters had got the fire under control, he climbed over the fence into a paddock to have a gander.

He had suspected a duck had hit the lines while flying toward the sea.

But he found the culprit was not a duck but a rather large English goose, killed by its aerial accident.

Duck strikes frequently cause power outages around Waipu and some parts of the Kaipara, particularly during shooting season when hunters disturb birds at dawn.

Mr Drake, 28, said this was only the second goose he had found knocking down lines in his seven years as a linesman.

Northpower network manager Graham Dawson said about 790 customers were affected by the outage, with power restored by 5pm.


Culprit: Northpower linesman Sam Drake finds the culprit,
an English goose, among the carrot weed. Photo / Sandra Bogart


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