Snake turns out the lights

First Posted: 5/22/2014

LUMBERTON — About 2,000 Lumberton utility customers who were plunged into darkness Wednesday night can blame their blinking clocks, missed television shows and general confusion on … a snake.

According to Lamar Brayboy, Electric Utilities director for the city, a 4-foot-long chicken snake found its way into a transformer at a substation on U.S. 74 at about 11 p.m.

The longest outages lasted about 90 minutes and all power was restored Wednesday night or early this morning, Brayboy said.

Power was lost along West Fifth Street, Carthage Road, Lackey Street and down N.C. 711 and out to Pinecrest Country Club. Affected customers have been transferred to the Wesley Pines substation, according to Linda Oxendine, director of Public Services.

The snake did a little damage to the metering equipment, but Brayboy said it’s an easy fix.

“It all should be repaired today,” he said.

Utility employees aren’t entirely surprised that the slithering creature was behind the outage.

“I think it has happened before,” Oxendine said, laughing.

The snake’s fate was worse than temporary darkness.