Utility pole

A cracked insulator caused a utility pole on East Rezanof Drive to catch fire Monday morning, Kodiak Electric Association CEO Darren Scott said.

KODIAK — A mechanical failure on a utility pole sparked an electrical fire on Monday morning, setting instruments ablaze and resulting in local power outages.

The fire – at the corner of East Rezanof Drive and Cutoff Road – was reported to police at 7:29 a.m.

The Kodiak Fire Department quickly closed adjacent roads, and the Kodiak Electric Association sent a crew to power down the electricity running to the pole.

“With a situation like that – energized electrical circuitry – we don’t advance until KEA comes in and sets off power,” fire chief Jim Mullican said. 

Once the circuit was de-energized, the fire went out.

“There was no firefighting necessary,” Mullican said.

The fire department left the scene at 7:57 a.m.

The Kodiak Electric Association attributed the combustion to a failed insulator. The insulator is a plastic or ceramic-glass piece that separates the power line from the utility pole.

“We had a failure, some type of crack that caused it to fail,” said KEA CEO Darren Scott. “You don’t want the power to go into the pole. That’s what started the fire.”

Crews were on-site on Monday attending to the equipment.

“We’re doing repairs on it now,” Scott said.

A number of residents and businesses briefly lost electricity. 

Amanda LeDoux, an employee at NAPA Auto Parts on East Rezanof Drive, said she had to temporarily close the store after the power went out following the incident. Electricity returned around 8:05 a.m., she said, but the business’s phone and internet lines were not working properly.

“I’ve been using my cell phone to call people,” she said.

Lindsay Knight, owner of the Kodiak Athletic Club, next door to NAPA, said his business lost power for a short while.

“Fifteen minutes, max,” he said.

Knight said he drove by the fire on his way to work, and saw the flames.

He said it seemed like “every responder in the city was headed that way.”

“It was ablaze like a roman candle,” he added.

Crews continued to work on replacing insulators Monday afternoon and mending or replacing components, which were heavily damaged, Scott said.

“They are continuing to work on getting things fixed up now,” he said. “It should be completed today.”

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