Lights knock out street lights in Nashua

NASHUA – Christmas lights strung in the trees lining Main Street are apparently the reason several streetlights malfunctioning in a shower of sparks, flashes and flames Monday night.

Public Service of New Hampshire spokeswoman Elizabeth LaRocca said crews on the scene Monday evening discovered that the Christmas lights were “intertwined” with the power company’s streetlights.

“That’s something we weren’t aware of. That’s something we likely would not have allowed,” LaRocca said.

She said details were still sketchy and didn’t know exactly how the Christmas and streetlights were connected or why it would cause the streetlights to malfunction.
“It’s something that our supervisors will be discussing with the city (today),” she said.

Around 6 p.m., people on Main Street between Water and East Hollis streets started reporting that streetlights were going out after flaring, sparking and sometimes catching fire briefly. The mini-explosions caused loud popping noises and a burning smell pervaded the area.

The Nashua Fire Department responded to at least three calls and determined the lights weren’t an immediate danger before calling the city’s public works division, according to Deputy Chief Dan Cronin.

Several lights along the several-blocks of Main Street were out, LaRocca said, and would be out “for a while” until the repairs are made.

The malfunctions seemed strange even to LaRocca.

“I’ve worked for (PSNH) for 20-something years, and I’ve never heard of something like this,” she said.