La Grange Park utility pole fire leads to internet outages

Storms likely to blame for damage to pole

fire truck

An early morning utility pole fire Thursday in La Grange Park led to internet outages in the community and neighboring La Grange, authorities said.

Firefighters at about 6:09 a.m. respond to a utility pole on fire next to a house on the 1000 block of Sherwood Road.

The top of the pole had snapped off, was hanging in the air supported by wires and was on fire. The houses on either side of the burning pole were evacuated, and firefighters deployed a hose line to protect those structures, La Grange Park fire officials said.

Firefighters applied water to brush and ground cover beneath the pole, and to the roof of one of the homes where burning embers were dropping.

Power had to be isolated to de-energize power lines and equipment directly involved in the fire before firefighters could completely extinguish the fire. Once that was completed, residents were allowed to return to their homes. There were no injuries reported and no apparent damage to the homes, authorities said.

The damage to the pole and subsequent fire was mostly likely weather related. After the fire, significant damage to a Comcast fiber optic line was discovered, which caused an internet outage in La Grange Park, La Grange and other nearby areas. This also affected Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP) systems at the village of La Grange Park and with other users.

According to a Comcast representative, about 30,000 to 40,000 users were affected by the damage. Several utility crews were on the scene working to repair the damage, and most service appeared to have been restored by early afternoon.