Cause of Fourth of July power outage in Seaside: A red, white an - KPTV - FOX 12

Cause of Fourth of July power outage in Seaside: A red, white and blue balloon

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Seaside, OR (file image) Seaside, OR (file image)

A patriotic party favor is responsible for knocking out the power to 8,000 people on the Fourth of July at the Oregon coast.

The power went out in Seaside, Gearhart and parts of Warrenton just as many holiday celebrations were getting underway.

It turns out, a balloon from one of those parties caused the outage.

Pacific Power reports that a metallic-skinned helium balloon caused a main substation transformer to short circuit near the Seaside Factory Outlet Center.

"We found unmistakable red, white and blue mylar shreds when we did the repairs the evening of July 4," said Steve McGrorty, Pacific Power's operations manager for the north coast.

The power was out for about six hours as crews worked to repair the damage.

Pacific Power reports that when balloons touch power lines or substations, even the smallest amount of metal content material can conduct electricity.

Pacific Power said balloons should be kept inside, with a weight attached to the string so they can't float away and then they need to be disposed of properly. Workers said birds and squirrels have been known to carry balloon remnants onto power lines, as well.

Anyone who notices a balloon near a power line is advised not to try and retrieve it, but instead report it to Pacific Power at 1-888-222-7070.

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