This is what happens when a balloon floats into power lines.


Balloons and distribution lines, it turns out, don’t mix. Exhibit A: the remnants of a mylar balloon that drifted into Puget Sound Energy’s high voltage power lines above the QFC in West Bremerton Monday (pictured).

According to PSE, “a little girl got a cupcake and a mylar balloon from a grocery store,” at about 9:30 p.m, said spokesman Ray Lane.  “She lost control of the balloon and it got snagged in one of our distribution lines.”

Power was never knocked out, but those distribution lines serve, well, just about everyone. So if your power flickered around that time, chances are that’s what it was.

The mylar balloon burned up fast enough that electricity did not cease in the area. But they do cause several outages a year around PSE’s network.

Here’s some additional safety tips, courtesy of PSE:

  • Keep metallic balloons indoors; never release them outside.
  • Never fly kites near electric lines, in the rain or during an electric storm.
  • Never use a kite made with wire or metallic materials, including Mylar.
  • Securely tie helium-filled balloons to a weight heavy enough to prevent them from floating away.
  • Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon, kite—or any foreign object—tangled in power lines. Instead, call PSE at 1-888-225-5773 and report the problem.
  • Never go near a downed or dangling wire. Assume that the electric line is live. Stay away and warn others to stay away. Call 9-1-1 to alert local emergency response until PSE can arrive.


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