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Live wire sparks fire after tree hits power lines

MENTONE, Ind. -- Flames and smoke suddenly erupted from the loud buzzing and cracking of live wires. A fallen tree landed on top of nearby power lines in Mentone, sparking a fire.

"At this time, it’s still real dry out. Even though we have had rain, the grass is still dry and it will continue to burn," said Captain Jim Eads of the Mentone fire department.

Sunday afternoon's powerful storm knocked down several trees throughout the county. Neighbors say the tree was leaning on the power lines at a 45 degree angle when a truck drove past the road closure barricades.

Neighbors watched as the truck drove over the part of the tree still on the ground and when it did, the pressure snapped the power lines and tree came crashing down. Then, the live wires burst into flames. 

"That’s 30,000 volts that can travel upward to 50 to 100 feet through the ground. So, anytime there is a live wire on the ground stay back from it, the homeowners here did a good job of that," said Eads.

Although Friday's storm was worse, firefighters say they saw more debris and trees in the road after this latest storm. "The things that were broken up in the trees, the wind that came through today and loosened them up and blew them on the ground," said Eads.

 Residents were without power for a few hours while NIPSCO repair the lines.

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