I was in the house working when out of the blue our electricity went out.
I found this kind of strange, since there was no storm or threat of one.
Since there was nothing to do inside, I ventured outside.
That is when I heard a weird hissing sound. Kind of like when you let the air out of a balloon.
Megan heard it too and we went to investigate.
This is when we realized that the sound was coming from the transformer on our pole (the gray thing on top of this pole).
Obviously this was going to be more than just the electricity blinking out, so I called Manitoba Hydro and reported what was happening. The guy called me back and I told him what we heard coming from the transformer. He told me that he would get someone out to look at it. After I hung up from talking to him, we started to hear popping sounds coming from the transformer. Like really loud popping sounds. It was then that I told the kids to stay away from the pole because I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Every time it would pop, the ground would shake and oil would spray out of the transformer. Finally after what seemed a long time of this thing popping, the lid blew right off the top of it, sending a ball of fire and spraying oil everywhere, on the tree, on the rose bushes, all over the grass. I was in the house at the time and could hear it....it was LOUD! Of course kids came running from everywhere, wondering what had just happened. We were very grateful that no one was under it at the time.
About that time Mark was coming home and called me telling me to call hydro and let them know that a fire had started at the end of our lane......thankfully the hydro guy called me a minute or two later and said casually, "So, your hydro is out?" To which I replied...."Ummm....ya, the transformer blew and there is a fire at the end of our lane!!!!" Calmly he said, "Oh, so the trees probably are just touching the line." To which I replied, "NO....there are no trees there. Something is causing a fire." He then told me he was on his way out. When I hung up I realized that I didn't even know where he was coming from, so we had no idea how long he would be."
Thankfully we had a water tank on the trailer, so Mark and Josh had taken it to the end of the lane and douced the fire. It had caught some grass on fire and was starting to spread. We were just so thankful that nothing had started on the yard.
After maybe half and hour the hydro guy finally showed up, and he seemed a little surprised at the fire and the transformer 'blowing' up! And I was just thinking, "This is what I TOLD you was happening!" (We found out later that something that should have shut the power down had malfunctioned when the transformer blew, that's why the fire)
It didn't take him long to tape off the area (see picture below, this is what we see when we look out our front windows) and proceeded to tell us to STAY OUT of the area. He said they were pretty sure that the oil that came out of the transformer wasn't toxic, but they needed to be 100% sure before we went in that area.
So he called this big guy in to change the transformer so we could have power once again. Since this was a holiday (July 1st) we were very impressed at how quickly it actually all got done. And by evening our hydro was back on.
When they left, they reminded us again to stay out of the oil saturated area and a guy would come in the next few days to check things out. And sure enough, a few days later an environmental guy came and told us that they would take a sample of the soil (not him of course, someone else had to come out another day!) He said that if the oil was toxic, then they would come in and remove the tree, rose bushes and sod. If it wasn't toxic then they would just remove the soil. The big tree is a special tree to us, we call it our family tree. It is a big old willow...not replaceable. So we were really hoping that the soil samples would not come back toxic. Then we waited, and finally they called and said that the sample was fine. They still had to come in and dig up the sod. They brought in new sod and then 'sprinkled' grass around the area. It was then that we decided we didn't want to mess with growing grass this time of year so we decided to do something totally different. We decided to make a disaster into a thing of beauty. And that's where the idea began.....and it grew.