LIPA wire causes power surge, basement smoke

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead firefighters check for fire at an Ostrander Avenue house where residents reported smoke in the basement Tuesday afternoon.

A downed electrical wire near downtown Riverhead caused one person’s fusebox to overload Tuesday afternoon, filling his basement with smoke, neighbors and fire officials said.

A homeowner was hanging Christmas lights at his house on the corner of Ostrander Avenue and East 2nd Street when the lights began to glow brightly, said 2nd assistant fire chief Kevin Brooks.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | LIPA workers make repairs to a downed wire on Ostrander Avenue Tuesday afternoon.

“Everything went bright, then everything went off,” he said. The homeowner reported that the fuse box was overloaded and began smoking, though fire officials could not yet confirm the cause of the smoke.

Mr. Brooks said Riverhead firefighters arrived on scene and used thermal cameras to try to locate if there was a fire in the residence, but found no evidence of a blaze.

Around the same time as smoke filled the basement, an electrical wire feeding the house snapped loose and fell into the street.

One neighbor was on her computer when she noticed a power surge in her home when the wire went down, she said.

It is not immediately clear what caused the wire to blow; a Riverhead Fire Marshall was on the scene to investigate the smoke.

LIPA crews arrived on scene and removed the downed wire. A section of Ostrander Avenue was briefly closed by town police.

By 1:45 p.m., police and fire crews had left the scene and reopened the road.

[email protected]