Pacific Power pole and transformer

A magpie flies over a Pacific Power utility pole with a transformer in Walla Walla, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Power has been restored to around 6,000 customers in the Milton-Freewater area Wednesday morning, Oct. 13, after a two-hour power outage was caused by a power pole fire, according to city officials.

Customers of both Milton-Freewater City Light and Power and the Columbia Rural Electric Association lost power at 8:53 a.m. Wednesday morning after a power pole carrying a 69KV transmission line caught fire. Power was redirected through a substation and restored to all customers around 11 a.m., according to Milton-Freewater City Manager Linda Hall.

It’s not immediately clear what caused the fire, Hall said, though she noted that it is not uncommon for fires to start after a long period without any rain, which allows dust to build up on the power lines, is followed by rain.

While power is being temporarily redirected to bring electricity back to area customers, crews are working to repair the damaged power pole, Hall said. That work is expected to be finished Wednesday.

The Milton-Freewater municipal power utility serves around 4,400 customers, Hall said, all of which lost power Wednesday. Columbia REA reported that 1,580 of its customers also lost power.

Emry Dinman can be reached at emrydinman@wwub.com or 425-941-5829.

Reporter covering agriculture, Walla Walla city and county government, and other topics.

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