Updated with comment from Eversource

Downed lines result in power, internet outages across town

May 25, 2021

Downed wires on Main Street led to an electrified fence, small brush fires and widespread power, internet and cable outages on May 25.

A spokesperson from the Wareham Fire District said a series of primary wires were dislodged and fell to the street at about 6:10 a.m. 

When the wires came down, they caused major damage to the Comcast and Verizon wires underneath, the spokesperson said. Internet and cable outages are expected to continue for most of the day.

Additionally, when the wires hit the ground, electrical arcing — which happens when an electrical current flows through the air, jumping in an “arc” — and sparking caused some small brush fires.

For a period of time, the construction fence around Tobey Hospital was electrified by the downed wires. 

Fortunately, however, the construction workers recognized the danger and quickly found neutral ground, the Wareham Fire Department spokesperson said.

As of about 11 a.m., no injuries had been reported from the incident.

William Hinkle, a representative for Eversource, said that the outage was caused by an osprey working on building a nest on a utility pole in the Tobey Hospital area. The bird’s work caused arcing and sparking on Monday, and its nest was removed, but the bird returned later on Monday and again on Tuesday to continue its efforts.

Hinkle said that while 1,506 customers lost power initially, 622 of them had service restored within about five minutes after Eversource crews worked to isolate the outage and reroute power from other sources. That process is what caused people’s power to flicker on and off.

All customers had their electricity restored by about 9:30 a.m.

Eversource crews added a deterrent to the pole in efforts to prevent the osprey from returning. Hinkle said Eversource was looking into building a pole and platform nearby for the osprey to use instead.

“Osprey are one of our biggest challenges in the area when it comes to protecting wildlife and providing service,” Hinkle said. 

At about 7 a.m. Onset Fire Department started providing aid on the scene, according to a Facebook post.

“Major power outage in Wareham,” the post read. “Multiple main transmission lines came down sparking pole and brush fires in the area of Tobey Hospital. Use extreme caution in this area!”

As of 12:30, the section of Main Street directly in front of Tobey Hospital and Verilife remained closed.