FPL says 'equipment issues' to blame for falling powerlines in Miami neighborhood

MIAMI – It looked and sounded like a Roman candle, except it wasn't the Fourth of July. 

"Absolute shock," is how Christian Rato described the scene he recorded on his cellphone on Aug. 30.

He said he had just pulled onto the 2800 block of Southwest 16th Terrace in Miami when the incident occurred.

Rato was on his way to visit his wife's grandmother and great-aunt who live just feet from where a powerline fell. Seconds later, fire was spreading to the fence and tree next to the sidewalk and the powerlines. 

"If someone would've been walking by at that moment, they would've gotten electrocuted," Celida Perez, who lives next door to Rato's in-laws, said.

Perez said the line that fell Aug. 30 was the second line that fell in a matter of weeks, 

"It was like fireworks," she said. "A lot of fire. All the neighbors were scared because my car was parked close to the post, and if one of the sparks hit the gas tank, it might have exploded." 

"Just stunned," Rato said. "The first time this transpired, it wasn't addressed appropriately."

Rato said two months prior, a wire fell right in front of his aging in-laws' home. The volts from the sparking wire were so strong, patches of concrete at the end of the driveway were chipped away.

"It's super dangerous," Rato said.

Rato said his relatives and their neighbors have also had to deal with power outages and other issues as a result of the fallen wires. 

"Do I feel safe? No," Perez said.

Rato called the "Leave it to Layron" team after the latest incident. 

"We want a long term solution," he said. "We don't want FPL just to come out here and just fix the line, provide power to the area, only for this to happen again, a month, two months, three months down the road."

The LITL team contacted Florida Power & Light. A spokesperson confirmed that on July 7 and Aug. 30, crews restored downed power lines on 16th Terrace due to "equipment issues."

The spokesperson said in the days that followed "crews completed a detailed inspection of the lines and equipment in this area to ensure safe and reliable service."

The spokesperson also apologized for any inconvenience the situation caused to customers in the area.

Customers are urged to be cautious around any FPL equipment, and call 911 in an emergency.

Customers should call 1-800-4-OUTAGE to report an issue to FPL.


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