High-voltage lines spark fire in Newton

NEWTON, Mass. (WHDH) — High-voltage power lines crashed down on a building, which sparked a fire and destroyed two vehicles in Newton on Tuesday.

Pam Weil watched her car burn in the parking lot.

“It was like a fire ball and the wire was burning and clearly gonna burn my car. It took them quite a while to put the fire out and while I was standing there I saw my car more and more in flames. Then it was all a ball of smoke, then the car next to it got on fire too,” she said.

Firefighters said for some reason a 13,000 volt power line came loose from the roof of a shopping center.

“The lights started flickering. At first I thought it was a brown out and then someone said they smelled smoke and then someone said get’s get out,” said Jonathon Kantar, who witnessed the fire.

Kantar ran outside to find his car also on fire.

“It was probably a good 15 to 20 minutes of watching stuff burn where no one could do anything cause they needed the power out,” he said.

When firefighters arrived to the Needham Street fire they were unsure if the power lines were still active.

“Companies arrived on scene to find a high-tension wire up against the vehicles and on the roof. The high-tension wire between 13,800 volts. The wire was sparking and energized. The companies knocked down the roof fire without exposing themselves to the high-energy line. We called for NSTAR to respond to de-energize the lines. That took quite awhile to do,” said the fire chief.

But the high temperatures made this one a tough fight.

“Extreme heat was a factor in this with the gear the guys were wearing,” said Fire Chief Bruce Proia of the Newton Fire Department.

Electricity was cut off to the building as crews worked to determine why the power lines crashed down.

No injuries were reported, but the fire department believes some of the people fighting the fire did sustain some heat-related issues due to the high temperatures.

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