Power Line 'Fireball' Leaves Thousands Without Power

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A spokesperson for electricity provider SP AusNet said that an incident that looked like an explosion was actually a flashover from electrical lines going down.

"The station plays a significant role in distributing electricity throughout Gippsland, so when the powerlines have come down it has caused a flashover, which is typical in the electricity network," said spokesperson Jonathan Geddes.  "That's what people are reporting as an explosion.  It is not really an explosion - it is just a flashover, and that resulted in a widespread blackout in Gippsland, possibly 80,000 customers."

Witness Jaye Atlee described it as looking like a "type of electrical storm."  "I've never seen anything like it.  It was a bit of a glow and a really loud rumble," she said.  "I was getting ready for work and I heard the rumble through my house.  I thought my house was on fire or something was happening."

Another resident thought it was an atomic bomb.  David said, "It was a massive, deep, rumbling, arcing noise and then all of a sudden I saw this massive fireball.  It looked like a mushroom cloud going up and you could see the electrical arcing that was going through the cloud."