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Electrical Wires Wreak Havoc in West Caldwell

High winds from Hurricane Sandy and Winter Storm Athena have caused low-lying power lines in West Caldwell.

A Waste Management garbage truck snapped dangling power lines at the intersection of Bloomfield and St. Charles avenues Thursday morning dragging one of the live wires down onto the truck.

The 10:16 a.m. incident occurred when the truck was picking up garbage at an apartment complex on Bloomfield Avenue and hit the low-hanging wires.

“The garbage truck pulled the electrical service off the building and a live wire was left on top of the truck, leaving the driver of the truck trapped inside,” said West Caldwell Fire Chief Jim Alvine.

The West Caldwell Fire Department remained on the scene for two hours to check the building for signs of fire. PSE&G cut power to the damaged lines allowing the driver to exit the truck.

“West Caldwell Police blocked all roads leading to the area while members of the West Essex First Aid Squad stood by until the driver was finally out of the truck,” said Alvine. “The driver was uninjured but was examined by the squad members as a precaution.”

West Caldwell Police opened the road to traffic at 12:03 p.m.

This was one of three incidents involving electrical wires within the past two days.

On Wednesday night a transformer caught on fire on Beechwood Road in West Caldwell. The transformer only burned for about 10 minutes before extinguishing itself, said Alvine. PSE&G was called to make repairs.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, a tree at the intersection of Annin Road and Ravine Avenue caught fire when heavy winds from Winter Storm Athena blew electrical wires into the tree, causing a tree branch to burn.

“The wire then fell to the ground and both ends of the wire were burning on the ground,” said Alvine.

Police closed off both roads for 90 minutes while PSE&G came to disconnect the power line.

Once the power line was disconnected, firefighters were able to extinguish the tree fire, said Alvine.

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