Metro

Downed power lines spark fire in Wayland

Downed power lines burning on Route 20 in Wayland Monday night.
Wayland Fire Department
Downed power lines burning on Route 20 in Wayland Monday night.

Downed power lines closed two roads and caused power outages in Wayland on Monday night, and some of the fallen, live wires sparked a fire on Route 20, the Wayland Fire Department said.

The first line was reported down and on fire in the street by 533 Boston Post Road, which is at the intersection of Minuteman Drive and Route 20, around 8:50 p.m. Monday, Wayland Fire Chief David Houghton said.

“The transmission line was on the ground and was burning,” Houghton said. “We shut the street down for the safety of everyone around it” as the live wire continued to burn.

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The downed line caused a power outage in the surrounding area and along Route 20 to the town center, Houghton said, and the road was closed near the Sudbury border before Eversource crews arrived.

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Power to the downed line was shut off by 9:41 p.m., and Houghton said the wire had burned a large hole in the ground where it lay. Crews poured “around 500 gallons” of water into the hole to cool it down after the fire was put out, he said. Route 20 was reopened by 10 p.m.

Around 8:54 p.m. Monday, more power lines were reported down several miles away in the area of 171 Rice Road, Houghton said. After Eversource crews responded to the Route 20 scene, they moved on to deal with the second incident across town.

“We had multiple primary wires down, no fire involved there,” Houghton said. “Once they were able to neutralize the stuff on Route 20 they came over to Rice Road.”

Houghton said Eversource again isolated the surrounding area and had the lines fixed by 10 p.m., while “quite a bit” of Rice Road and Route 20 remained without power. Service was restored in the area by early Tuesday morning.

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Houghton said he wasn’t sure of the cause of both downed lines, but said the two incidents were likely linked and that weather may have been a factor.

“We believe them both to be related, but that’s something the power company could speak on,” he said. “It had to be weather-related, there’s no trees involved, there was really no wind at the time either. My hunch is Rice Road caused the problem for Route 20 or vice versa.”

Houghton also credited Eversource with a quick response and Wayland firefighters for keeping the areas around the downed lines safe, especially around the large fire on Route 20.

“There’s obviously a curiosity factor, and it’s a very impressive sight to see,” he said of the electrical blaze. “People tend to get close to that, so it’s our job to keep people away.”

“We secured quite an area around it to keep everyone safe,” Houghton said.

Ben Thompson can be reached at ben.thompson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Globe_Thompson