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UPDATED: Osprey nest knocks out power in downtown Camden

By Susan Mustapich | Sep 09, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich A total of 54 properties in the downtown commercial district and Public Landing area lost power at midday for an hour and a half Sept. 6.

Camden — An osprey nest on top of a utility pole at the corner of Washington Street and Tannery Lane caused a midday power outage in downtown Camden Sept. 6.

Central Maine Power Communications Manager Katherine Hartnett confirmed the cause Sept. 9. Harnett said a persistent osprey has been trying to build a nest on the downtown utility pole. On Friday a branch it brought to the pole connected the two phases of power, causing the outage.

Many businesses along Main and Bay View streets lost power during an outage that lasted more than an hour and a half, causing lighting, credit card processing, phones and a restaurant vent system to go down on a busy Friday afternoon.

The outage occurred around 12:30 p.m. and lasted until around 2:10 p.m. At 1 p.m., Central Maine Power was reporting 54 outages around the Public Landing, Bay View Street and Main Street.

At 12:31 the Camden Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Hoxbill Restaurant on Bay View Landing. Because of the power outage, the ventilation system for the restaurant's wood-fired grill stopped operating, filling the restaurant with smoke, according to Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley. By the time firefighters arrived, restaurant employees had already removed smoking wood from the stove to alleviate smoke inside and placed the wood in metal bins on the pavement outside the restaurant, Farley said.

On the east side of Bay View Street, the outages extended from the retail store Fat Face to Carver Hill Gallery. On the west side of the street, the Camden Post Office lost power, and the outage extended down the street to the Owl and Turtle Bookshop. On the east side of Main Street, the outage began at Starbird and extended to the Smiling Cow.. On the west side of Main Street, the outage began at Maine Street Imprints at the corner of Mechanic Street, and extended to the Boynton McKay restaurant.

Walgreen's was the only business that reported losing power on Elm Street.

During the outage, a generator on the Public Landing ran a wastewater treatment system pump station located there.

Most merchants said they lost the ability to process credit card sales, and recorded cash sales manually. The outage affected the phones, computer system and elevator at 16 Bay View Hotel. Cuzzy's restaurant did not lose power to its kitchen equipment, but asked that customers pay with cash or go to a local ATM. Camden Cone continued to serve ice cream and was able to process cash and credit sales because its Square system was fully charged.

A number of businesses in the midst of the power outage area still had full power, including Sea Dog Restaurant and The Colony gift store on Main Street and Swans Island retail store near the corner of Main and Bay View streets. Harnett explained that CMP can electronically reduce the size of an outage by closing and opening circuits. The process is automated, she said.

Business owners all said Sept. 6 they did not know the cause of the outage, though a number of owners thought that the smoke at Hoxbill might have been connected to the outage. Farley confirmed that the smoke at Hoxbill did not cause the power outage, but was a result of it.

Farley said Sept. 9 he had observed the osprey building the nest since mid-May, but noticed that it had appeared to abandon the nest building some time ago. He said the branches have now been removed from the pole.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Sep 09, 2019 16:43

I love it! Such a joy to see Thanks for such a wonderful happening. Here in Arizona we do not see osprey!

Posted by: Dave Getchell | Sep 09, 2019 13:57

Any word as to the fate of the osprey? Hoping that he/she wasn't fried in the process!

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