Thu, Aug 04, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Squirrel causes power outage in 600 households

A firefighter holds the electrocuted squirrel that caused a power outage in hundreds of households while high-voltage power cables burn on the ground in this photo taken in Miaoli County on July 26.

Photo: Chang Hsun-teng, Taipei Times

Early in the morning around dawn last month, a squirrel in Miaoli County’s Touwu Township climbed onto the high-voltage power cables hanging from utility poles at the side of County Road 13. The rodent was electrocuted on the spot when it touched the cables, which caught fire and caused a power outage in an estimated 600 households, depriving two entire villages of electricity. Despite the electricity being quickly restored after two hours of hurried repair, the outage was still quite an inconvenience for local residents as they were busy going out for morning calisthenics, heading out to tend to the fields and leaving for work. The incident even affected people as they were fixing breakfast. Residents were shocked to learn that a tiny squirrel caused the mishap.

The 50cm-long squirrel climbed up the utility pole at approximately 5:40am, and subsequently made the mistake of touching the high-voltage power cables. Instantaneously receiving an electric shock, the poor guy immediately met his demise and fell to the ground burnt to a crisp. A short circuit occured after the cables caught fire, burning the asphalt road when they fell to the ground. The fire department used dry powder fire extinguishers to put out the fire as soon as they could.

The power outage lasted from around 5:40am until 8am, but was still quite a nuisance even though it was only for a couple of hours. Since most people living in villages go to bed early and rise early, when the outage occured many people were already out of bed fixing their breakfasts, and getting ready to start their day.

Without electricity to power their rice cookers and microwaves, people were kept from making breakfast and getting ready to start their day. Local residents were also forced to manually open their automatic iron doors. Being without air conditioning or fans for so long in the middle of summer caused some people to feel so hot that they were drenched in sweat by the time the outage ended. Local residents eventually called Taiwan Power Company to find out exactly what was happening because they were also afraid the food in the fridge would soon go bad. After learning that a squirrel had caused the entire incident, many were baffled as to how one little squirrel could cause so much damage.


1. calisthenics n.

健身操 (jian4 shen1 cao1)

例: I saw dozens of elderly people doing calisthenics at the park early this morning.


2. mishap n.

災禍 (zai1 huo4)

例: The road mishap inconvenienced commuters for several hours.


3. manually adv.

手動的 (shou3 dong4 de5)

例: You can’t just push the button, you have to open it manually.


(Liberty Times, Translated by Taijing Wu)






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