Mon, 19 Apr 2010 16:53 UTC
A scene right out of a Stephen King novel or the latest sci-fi movie came to Fayetteville Saturday night, but no one is quite sure what happened.
A sonic boom from a plane? A fireworks explosive set off by kids? A blown transformer or street light?
Or could it be some unsuspecting creature that got "fried" by electricity from a power line and then vaporized on the spot?
Susan Rausch, who lives on Oakwood Drive in Fayetteville, jumped out of her seat when she heard the boom that caused the house to shake.
"I can't imagine what it could have been," she said. "It sounded like a gas explosion. It was so loud I jumped out and ran outside to see if I could see or smell anything. But there was nothing."
The loud boom and bright flash of light was seen, heard and felt by Fayetteville residents in a roughly a 2- to 3-mile circlular area centered around Hoag Lane by Wellwood Middle School and Redfield Drive near Immaculate Conception School, Manlius police said.
Numerous calls came into the 911 center, and Manlius Police were joined by Manlius and Fayetteville fire departments in sending out crews. It was dispatched as a house explosion.
The mystery lingers. Several Fayetteville residents interviewed Monday at their homes say they've been scratching their heads ever since.
"We have no idea what it was," said Capt. Bill Bleyle, of the Manlius Police Department. " We investigated and when the sun came up on Sunday, still nothing. We still don't know."
Police and fire investigations couldn't find any blown transformers in the area, no explosions, and no resulting power outage. One theory, Bleyle said, is that sometimes an animal comes across a power line and is hit and there's a quick flash and bang and then the animal is nearly vaporized.
Courtney Quatrino, speaking for National Grid, said animals can come into contact with equipment and get burned. That could cause a "popping noise" and "quick flash of light," and not necessarily disrupt power, she said. Usually, there's some trace of the animal left, but it's not always found, she said.
Tom Canning was sitting in his television room on Edgemere Drive in Fayetteville when he heard "BOOM" and thought 'what the heck?" Last fall, a street light blew near him and the sound was similar, Canning said, but this time the light stayed on. His wife thought it sounded like a gunshot.
"It was just this big BOOM, and my wife and I just looked at each other," he said. "It was much louder than any fireworks explosive."
Karen Shephardson, who lives on Cammot Lane and works for the village of Fayetteville, said she thought it was a transformer. "We had the bathroom fan on and it was still audible, so I knew it was loud enough to be unusual," she said. "I guess it's just one of those fluke things, and we'll never know."