WESTFORD -- The Westford Fire Department reported a mid-November brush fire was sparked by a squirrel catching on fire this season and surprisingly, officials say that's not the first time that's happened in town.

A Concord Road homeowner called the department in the early morning Nov. 17, alerting emergency responders to a brush fire on the lawn. After the fire was put out, investigators determined a small, pesky rodent gnawing on some electrical wires was to blame.

"The squirrel was electrocuted and caught on fire, and then fell onto the lawn," Westford Fire Capt. Jim Barrett said.

Barrett noted the brush fire on Concord Road was relatively small and no damage was reported.

In his time with the department, Barrett said he's heard of a few squirrels setting themselves on fire, which eventually leads to an emergency call from residents.

"It happens periodically," he said, with a bit of a laugh. "Sometimes peanut oil is used as on insulator for those wires. If they get hungry, and the tree branches are sometimes near the power lines, they'll decide to nibble away on the coating. "

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