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Short circuit causes sparks in Belfast: ‘Better than 4th of July’

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN
A Central Maine Power worker tries to fix a short-circuited electric meter box that caused a downtown Belfast block to be without power for part of the afternoon on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010. The malfunctioning meter sent sparks flying through the air for some time, according to Belfast Fire Chief Jim Richards. (Bangor Daily News/ Abigail Curtis)
By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

BELFAST, Maine — Sparks flew in downtown Belfast Monday afternoon when an electrical meter short-circuited behind Weaver’s Bakery and caused the electricity to go out for as much as five hours on a downtown block of Main Street.

“It was probably better than Fourth of July fireworks,” said a bakery employee who had watched some video footage of the exploding meter box.

The contributed YouTube video was posted sideways.

Belfast Fire Chief Jim Richards said that at about 1:30 p.m., a City Hall employee noticed a dramatic display of arcing sparks and booming noises coming from the meter box attached to the outside of the bakery and reported the situation.

About 13 firefighters and work crews from Central Maine Power arrived to deal with the short circuit, Richards said. He did not know the cause of the problem.

“I’ve been around here for 40 years and I’ve never seen anything burn like that, as far as the explosions that went with it,” Richards said. “It was a brick building, thank goodness.”

Firefighters tried to break into the back door of the bakery, until owner Matt Weaver arrived to let them in. There was no damage to the inside of the business other than the smell of smoke, Weaver said.

Richards said that firefighters went into the basement with a thermal camera to detect hot spots but found none.

Power was down at Alexia’s Pizza for about an hour and until early evening at the bakery. Other businesses in the block include the Maine Farmland Trust, The Old Professor’s Bookshop and Belfast Community Television.

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