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Squirrel blamed for Menlo Park power outage

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Menlo Park Fire Protection District officials said a squirrel is allegedly responsible for a power outage that affected 1,700 customers in Menlo Park on Tuesday evening and trapped two people in elevators.

Firefighters responded to 1275 Crane St. shortly after 6:30 p.m. on reports of an explosion and fire alarm sounding.

Residents told firefighters that immediately following the explosion, the power went out and a gray squirrel was found smoldering and lying in the gutter.

Firefighters quickly performed elevator rescues at two separate buildings on Crane Street where a single occupant was trapped inside. Both were freed within 20 minutes with no reported injuries.

According to fire officials, PG&E crews responded within 30 minutes and power was restored to all customers shortly after 8 p.m.

PG&E officials said they believed the squirrel may have tried to bite into the power line, causing the explosion and temporary power outage.

Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a statement:

“Sadly, I’m told, the perpetrator, a gray squirrel, sustained significant injuries from both electrocution and a significant fall that ended his life. It all happened in the blink of an eye and we don’t think he suffered at all.”

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