A little over an hour ago I was sitting in my car at the corner of Jefferson and 5th Ave. when I heard a hissing and popping sound above the intersection. I looked up to see a fire on top of one of the telephone poles. It was a little unnerving to watch--from less than 50 feet away--blue arcs about the size of a pitbull's head and orange flames shooting out a couple of feet, punctuated by a couple of loud, bejesus-scaring explosions.
The traffic lights snuffed out and traffic snarled. Police closed Jefferson between 4th and 5th Avenues. Power was knocked out both ways down Jefferson and down 5th into Salemtown. Germantown Cafe closed its doors and sent its staff home just as it was gearing up for its usually popular lunch hour (owners tell me they will be open for dinner tonight). The traffic snarled on Madison and 5th Ave., as disappointed lunch-breakers got in their cars and left all at once.
As I got back into Salemtown, I stopped to talk to an NES worker who told me that the problem was a switch that had caught on fire. The problem was fixed shortly after 12:30 p.m., and mercifully so, given the outdoor temperatures approaching 100 degrees today.