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Listen: Saugus Fire Department responds to call about ‘exploding squirrel’

On Tuesday, a squirrel gnawed on a Saugus power line, was electrocuted, and exploded, according to the town’s fire department.
On Tuesday, a squirrel gnawed on a Saugus power line, was electrocuted, and exploded, according to the town’s fire department.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A strange incident involving a squirrel outside a home in Saugus Tuesday morning led to a brief power outage and sparked a response from the town’s Fire Department, officials said.

According to an audio recording of the Fire Department’s scanner, a resident on Biscayne Avenue reported that a squirrel apparently bit into the wires on a pole outside of her home, causing the power to go out and the squirrel to explode.

“The squirrel blew up, and that’s when the power went out,” a person from the Fire Department can be heard saying on a recording of the scanner, which was posted on Zello.com.


On a second recording of the department’s radio dispatch, a firefighter says responders planned to walk down to the house on Biscayne Avenue to check out the report of an “exploding squirrel.”

S augus Fire Firefighters Local 1003 posted about the call, which came in around 9 a.m. Tuesday, on its Facebook page.

“Engine 3 responding to an . . . exploding squirrel this morning,” they wrote. The post included a set of surprised-looking emoji eyes.

Lieutenant Mark Gannon of the Saugus Fire Department said firefighters initially responded to 22 Biscayne Ave. after a resident said they heard an explosion and then lost power. Shortly after, they walked down to 35 Biscayne Ave., where the incident occurred.

“A squirrel was gnawing on the power line and it just got electrocuted, exploded, and fell off the line,” he said.

Sure enough, “there was a dead squirrel on the ground at the base of the pole” when they arrived.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “there was nothing we could do for the deceased.”

Gannon said the department contacted National Grid to restore the power in the area.

A spokeswoman from National Grid confirmed there was an outage in the neighborhood caused by a squirrel but did not know how many residents were impacted.

Gloria Webster, who lives on Biscayne Avenue, said she was the one who called in the explosion Tuesday.


She said it’s not the first time that a squirrel has chewed on wires near her home and then died as a result.

“This happens periodically, for some bizarre reason. Only on this telephone pole,” she said in a telephone interview after power was restored. “They run up the pole, chew on some certain area of wires, and get electrocuted and die. And it knocks out our power in this neighborhood.”

Webster said the latest incident created a “big white explosion . . . that sounded like a gunshot.”

“It’s sad because the squirrel died,” she said. “It literally cooked itself.”

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.