WESTFORD -- Following a curious incident in November when a squirrel reportedly caused a small brush fire on a resident's lawn on Concord Road, this month officials said another rodent is to blame for a fire.
Westford Fire Lt. Donald Parsons said the department responded to Dunstable Road on Dec. 8 around 11 a.m. for smoke showing near the top of a telephone pole. Parsons said according to a report, National Grid crews were already on scene when the department arrived.
A worker then went to the top of the pole using a bucket truck and found a squirrel scorched by flames next to some holes in the wiring.
"It was smoldering," Parsons said. "And unfortunately, there was a deceased squirrel right there."
In November, Capt.
Barrett said then some manufacturers line their wires with peanut oil which can attract small critters, like squirrels. But Jennifer Mieth, spokesperson for the Office of the State Fire Marshal, cast doubt on that story this week when she said she spoke with other members of the Westford Fire Department, and it is possible the electrical wire on the house in the Concord Road incident came undone on its own -- the squirrel merely died in the lawn fire.
"The squirrel's relationship to starting that is really kind of iffy," she told The Sun.
Mieth added while these incidents are not very common in Massachusetts though, they can happen.
"It's certainly possible," she said, "but it's not very probable. ... It's very unusual for animals to be causing fires. ... If this were common, there would be a lot more grilled squirrels than there are."
Parsons said of the Dunstable Road incident, squirrels sparking flames isn't all that common in town from his perspective, and these two tenuous scenarios in less than a month seem a little strange.
"It seems odd," he said.
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