Story Updated: Jun 2, 2009 at 9:09 PM MDT
By Anthony Congi Video IDAHO FALLS - Close to two-thirds of Idaho Falls was without power Tuesday from a power pole that caught fire.
Eyewitness News was the first on scene to bring you dramatic video you'll see only on 3
"My two grandkids came in and said, 'Grandpa, the telephone pole's on fire'," says Michael Miller, who lives right next to the power pole.
Fire crews and Idaho Falls Power began a frantic race to get the fire out.
"All our circuits were still hot and energized. And the pole started to tip over at that point. And with all the circuits hot up there, if it had tipped over, it'd have been a huge ball of fire," says Idaho Falls Power Supervisor, Dee Wilson.
You can see the fire eating away at the pole, becoming more dangerous every second. More power trucks arrive to figure out the next move.
As you can see, this power line could come down basically at any second. There's easily 15 to 20 people here from the Idaho Falls Power company trying to make sure that that doesn't happen.
The power company cut electricity and the fire department tried putting the flames out.
"We didn't want to hit it with a big stream of water because it would have taken the power pole and broke it off and dropped it," explains Captain Brad Pettingill of the Idaho Falls Fire Department.
Smoke and flames once again appeared.
"The longer it burns the longer it burns into the grain of the wood. It's really difficult to put the fire out and it was really a long shot that we could put it out," says Pettingill.
Crews used a truck to secure and stabilize the pole. People watched carefully knowing any slip could take down the entire section.
Workers removed power lines and kept trying to extinguish the fire over, and over and over again.
Once it was finally out, you could see the damage. Then, they knew the cause.
"It looks like one of our cut outs, as part of a switch was broken and leaking voltage to the pole going to the ground. That caused heat, the caused the fire and burned the pole off and what's caused it to tip," explains Wilson.
Finally after careful and diligent work, Idaho Falls Power was able to remove the section, take down parts of the pole, and start work to get the replacement up and running.
Several people could still be without power; possibly throughout the night.
The power company will keep working until the problem is fixed.