MORGANTON, N.C. -- A squirrel is getting the blame for a large power outage in the Morganton area Sunday morning.

More than one-fourth of the city lost power around 9 a.m. when the squirrel climbed to the top of the Rand Street substation and touched a high voltage line. The contact created an electrical explosion a short circuit.

Electric Department Director Brooks Kirby said it s not unusual for a bird or squirrel to disrupt power, but it s typically to one or two homes.

About half of the 2,500 customers affected were businesses.

As for the squirrels I wish it was open season year round. Some folks may see them as pretty furry little critters that need protection but to those whose lives are adversely affected by them they are, as my grandfather once said, nothing but wire eating tree rats, Kirby said.

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