ComEd says it has fixed whatever problem existed prior to Jan. 19 — the one that apparently caused a power line to fall onto Brookfield resident Kevin Falkman’s property on Jan. 19, starting a fire in his backyard.
Officially, the Jan. 19 issue was related to “wildlife.” Earlier in the day, a neighbor of Falkman’s said the power went out for about 30 seconds and then came back on. That afternoon, ComEd scheduled a power outage to deal with the “wildlife” issue.
So, the situation was cleaned up by the time power was restored at about 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 19. Wildlife situation fixed. So, what exactly happened about an hour and a half later, when a power line exploded above Falkman’s head, sending him and his dog running for their lives?
Falkman says that he called ComEd at about 1:20 p.m., just after power was restored that day, because the wires near his house were buzzing. No one from ComEd came out to check it out until the fire department called in the downed wire in Falkman’s backyard.
After repairing the wire, the repair crew left. They returned — coincidentally after the Landmark started contacting ComEd to see why the heck wires kept falling around Falkman’s house — on Jan. 22 and made some sort of repairs. Falkman says they clearly tightened the tension on the wires. He hopes that will help.
But we can’t fault him for thinking it won’t.
ComEd says that since 2011, they’ve responded to three instances of main power lines down near Falkman’s house. Falkman and his neighbors remember at least four times since 2011 (three of which caused fires — two on his property and one on the public parkway).
And the Brookfield police and fire departments have records indicating reports of downed wires or wiring problems at least eight times on that block since the end of 2010. It’s clearly a problem that deserves more scrutiny from ComEd.
All you have to do is look at the set up to wonder how it can be safe. There are three main lines running east along the alley from Kemman to the alley that sits just west of Falkman’s house. The lines then run south to Garfield, where they make a 90-degree turn in front of his house and continue east down Garfield.
A third line, a service line that connects to a neighbor’s house runs across Falkman’s backyard. The man’s property is virtually surrounded by high-power lines.
In addition to being a hazard, the proliferation of power lines, phone lines and cable TV lines is an eyesore. Wherever possible, ComEd should be looking to bury its cables. If this area is particularly prone to storm damage or wildlife encounters, then get the wires out of harm’s way.
It’s almost as if ComEd keeps the wires aloft so they need to repaired over and over again, on purpose. We’re certain that can’t be the case, however. Safety, we’re sure, is job No. 1.