Crews believe the Thursday afternoon fire in a Saanich hydro pole was caused by rats chewing through underground lines. (BC Hydro Outage Map)

Rats likely to blame for Saanich hydro pole fire leaving about 3,000 without power

Underground lines in the area to be replaced, BC Hydro says

A Saanich hydro pole caught fire on Thursday afternoon leaving nearly 3,000 customers without power.

A pole in the 1500-block of Church Avenue caught fire around 1 p.m. on March 27, said Ted Olynyk, spokesperson for BC Hydro.

BC Hydro crews suspect that the fire in the pole was caused by rats chewing nearby underground lines, Olynyk said.

He noted that at first, 2784 customers between Cedar Hill Road and Shelbourne Street lost power, but crews worked quickly to restore power to all but 35 customers by 3:30 p.m. The final customers can expect to have power restored around 7 p.m. as underground wires need to be replaced, Olynyk said.

When the Saanich Fire Department arrived the pole was engulfed, said Assistant Deputy Chief Rob Heppell. The fire started in the bottom of the pole and moved upwards, he said, noting that there wasn’t much that could be done to save the pole.

Residents are advised to check the BC Hydro website for timely updates.

READ ALSO: Police called to break up a gathering in Saanich park

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