May 16, 2019 5:11 pm
Updated: May 17, 2019 1:01 am

3,800 Georgetown homes impacted by power surge as 2 homes catch on fire

WATCH ABOVE: Officials from Georgetown are looking into what caused a power surge in the southern region that impacted 3,800 homes in the area. Erica Vella speaks with a family whose house caught on fire because of the powerful surge.


Officials say they’re probing the cause of two house fires and a hydro surge that impacted approximately 3,800 homes in south Georgetown.

Art Skidmore, president and CEO of Halton Hills Hydro, told Global News there was an over-current in its distribution system at around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday and it caused a power surge in the affected area. He called such an issue “very rare.”

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“It happens very infrequently, and particularly to this magnitude of homes,” Skidmore said, adding there aren’t any residual surges or power issues expected.

READ MORE: Rare power surge leaves East St. Paul residents with burned, smoking appliances

Harry Olivieri, commissioner and fire chief of the Halton Hills Fire Department, said emergency crews received calls began received calls at around the same time. He told Global News during an update Thursday afternoon that the service received more than 30 calls reporting fires and the smell of smoke since that time.

Alex Downey’s mother’s home went into flames following the power surge and while the outside looks untouched, the home’s interior is coated in black soot and smoke damage.

Downey said he received a phone call from his mother’s home security service at first, inquiring about a possible break-and-enter.

READ MORE: Antigonish County residents upset Nova Scotia Power won’t take responsibility for power surge damage

“I thought maybe the dog set off the alarm,” he said, but it turned out to be firefighters breaking front windows to gain access inside the home.

“The fire started downstairs where there is a TV and a power bar and the surge went through and lit the power bar on fire and it came up through the wall here into the second level.”

Downey said his mother was at the cottage at the time of the fire and he’s grateful there were no injuries. But still some sentimental valuables have been lost.

“Everything can be replaced, but it’s pictures and all that stuff of grandchildren that sucks,” he said.

“You never think when you get up in the morning and leave that your house will be destroyed.”

Olivieri said crews responding to two working house fires, nothing both have since been extinguished. Firefighters were also called to the Toronto Premium Outlets after alarms were triggered there, but crews were cleared a short time later.

He asked residents to check electrical outlets and appliances and if there are issues to call a licensed electrician. Olivieri also encouraged people to check home monitoring devices.

“Be prepared for the unexpected,” he said.

“Make sure your smoke alarms and CO detectors are in working order and testing those monthly.”

There were no reports of injuries as a result of the fires or the power surges.

Skidmore and Olivieri wouldn’t confirm the surge and the fires were linked, saying the investigation into the cause and circumstances is ongoing.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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