After about THIRTY SECONDS, the light and the sound faded, but an orange glow was still pretty bright.
I crack the door and it happens again. I hear some men hollaring. It all stops, but the tree in the back yard of my neighbors has little burning embers on it.
I go out with my phone, and call 411, and try to get TXU electric. As I'm navigating the 105620385602863 level VRU, the lady in the center of our court comes out of her house.
She's scared shitless, and she's getting the kids out of the house. She asks me to call 911 and I do, because the tree keeps catching fire and going out. Periodically, there are faint fizzles of boiling electricity and copper, and a little more glow, but nothing compared to the huge blasts from before.
911 takes my info and description and tries to get my city's police department. Busy signal.
I carry over one of the 5 fire extinguishers I have as surplus from 1980s building projects (still have a good charge, metal heads, so whatever, right?)
So we're talking about it, and they say TXU was out there. I look, and see the bucket truck still idling there. It's floodlight is on, and the bucket is down.
And I realize something.
The voice of the hollaring doesn't match Fred's, and they were inside their house when it happenned. No one is making a sound back there, and the truck is still idling.
I hope they spooked and ran away rather than getting roasted.
Her husband, Fred, is out, unlocking the gate in case they need to get back there. He's more worried about the little firey embers that drop and self extinguish in the frozen sleet than the risk of getting totally roasted himself. Truly, this was distribution power sound, not any of that 480v crap. This is the sort of stuff that makes a plasma bridge across a huge spark gap. It stopped because something interrupted the current, or a breaker tripped downline and reset later. He doesn't need to get any closer to the tree than the tree is tall. I tell him it's better to let his house catch fire than to get roasted because that stuff will light up the ground (ie, it's damp, cold, etc).
They said the last transformer problem was a few weeks ago. They were without power from 4am to 7pm. It's cold tonight. So many neighbors are without power.
Since we have power, I offered them to come over if they want to warm up or need anything.
Fire dept comes and we give them info about what happenned. They can get to it better from the school's field. So they drive off, and 5 mins later, we still don't see or hear them.
Granted, I know they need to make sure the power gets cut at both poles before they can check it out, but I would have hoped they'd make a presence to keep random night wanderers away.
I don't know if someone used the wrong transformer, or mixed up the primary and secondary coils, or slipped on something wet, or let a distribution line touch the bucket, but it was bad.
Anyway, at 10:33pm I went out there and the glowing was stopped, power was off, and there is a white strobe light in the alleyway. I hope everyone's ok.