A spectacularly bright fire in Lakeville drew bystanders from their homes Sunday evening as downed wires set the pavement on fire on Howland Road near Apponequet High School.

Its not clear why the wires fell from a utility pole, but the resulting electrical fire melted part of the roadway and set it ablaze, according to Lakeville Fire Chief Michael O'Brien. "It burned so hot, it ignited the pavement," O'Brien said this morning.

Middleborough Gas and Electric responded by cutting electricity to the area, leaving many Lakeville residents without power for about a half hour, O'Brien said. Firefighters could do little to battle the blaze until the power was cut, because electrical fires can not be fought with water.

"Water is a very good conductor of electricity, so we had to wait," said O'Brien. "Once power was cut, then we could put the fire out." He said firefighters and local police worked to keep bystanders and traffic away from the scene.

"It was so bright, neighbors came out to see what was going on," O'Brien said.

According to an incident report, firefighters were dispatched to the entrance of Apponequet High School and George R. Austin Intermediate School at around 7:06 p.m. for reports of a fuse box fire. Due to the conflicting nature of reports, a full structural response was launched. Upon arrival, firefighters found a live power line down across the entrance to the school complex, with an actively arcing line.

Middleborough Gas & Electric was notified and they cut power to the circuit feeding the area so that crews could work. Once power was cut, a fire apparatus emptied water on the burning asphalt and extinguished the remaining fire. Crews checked the inside of the high school to make sure there was no damage. With no further hazard, the scene was cleared and left in the care of the electric utility.

A spokesperson for Middleborough Gas & Electric did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent Monday morning.

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