Wet, Windy Weather Sparks Power Pole Fires

(WIBW) - Windy, wet weather is blamed for a couple of broken power poles that sparked problems Thursday.

One of those was on Southwest 21st Street in Topeka near West Ridge Mall. The pole caught fire around 8 am and fell across the road. SW 21st was blocked between Wanamaker and Kingsrow until about 1:45 pm Thursday, while crews worked to put up a new pole.

Westar says only about three customers were impacted by the incident.

It was a similar situation in Rossville, where a utility pole downtown caught fire around 10:30 am Thursday.

Westar Energy says about 300 customers were without power. Among them were City Hall and many of the town's businesses, some of which closed up shop for the day.

Areas south of Highway 24 in Rossville, including the schools, did not lose power.

Westar had power back for more than half of the customers by 2pm. They expected the rest to be restored by 5pm.

A Westar spokesperson says, in both cases, dust that accumulated during recent hot, dry weather became damp in Thursday morning's rain, acting as a conductor to spark the pole fires.

Westar crews were responding to a third such incident Thursday afternoon on NE Kincaid Road, north of Seward. About 50 customers were impacted by that incident.


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