Tiny town's power surge fries computers, appliances, siding

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 28, 2017 7:59 AM

Photo by AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

(Brookville, PA) -- A power surge in a tiny western Pennsylvania borough damaged hundreds of homes, causing house fires and burning up computers and appliances.

The director of Jefferson County's Department of Emergency Services says 911 calls started pouring in from Brookville on Jan. 20 just after noon.

The borough 70 miles northeast of Pittsburgh has a population of about 4,000; at least 500 residents were affected.

Police Chief Jason Brown says even his department wasn't spared: The surge tripped his radio, so he missed the initial emergency calls.

A spokesman for FirstEnergy says a failed power line insulator is to blame. Scott Surgeoner says residents can file claims to local provider Penelec, and also work with their homeowner's insurance.

He says the cause isn't clear, but equipment can fail after years of weather exposure.

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