Neighborhood Nuisance: Transformer catches fire, cause thousands in damages

Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 5:14 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - People in an Oregon neighborhood are facing thousands of dollars in damages after a Toledo Edison transformer caught fire. They claim knew something was wrong and told Toledo Edison weeks in advance, but the company didn’t do anything.

“Bottom line is it never should have happened,” Shelly Went, who lives on Grasser Street, said. She had to replace her stove and furnace after the transformer malfunctioned. “It all could have been prevented.”

“At least two weeks before, at least two or three times we called. No one came out,” Went said.

One man says he has paid more than $8,000 in repairs so far.

“It hurts. It hurts a lot,” Tim Keefd said, “We just want them to reimburse us is what we really want.”

Another neighbor says he lost his surround sound system, refrigerator, alarm clock, fans and his coffee pot.

“[It’s] little stuff. But, I mean, it’s stuff I shouldn’t have to pay for if they knew about it two or three weeks beforehand,” Larry George said.

One street over, on Robindale, a single mother has been living in partial darkness with her two sons since the transformer blew on October 13, causing electrical problems in her home.

“The dining room lights don’t work. The living room lights don’t work,” Jessica Kretz said. “The main sector doesn’t work. If you plug in anything, it’ll start smoking out of the sockets.”

Adding insult to injury, there is a huge pile of tree branches piled up in her backyard. She says they were left there by a Toledo Edison crew.

“It was supposedly grabbing the wires and pulled the wires, causing electric surges to go into people’s houses. So, they threw it my hard and told me it’s my responsibility to take care of the tree,” Kretz said. “It was a group of guys cutting down trees and tossed it in a girl’s yard who, you know, lives by herself with two kids.”

“It feels like crap,” Kretz said.

More than 10 neighbors reached out to 13 Action News for help. We went straight to Toledo Edison for answers.

“When they found out I reached out to you, I got a couple of different callbacks,” Wend said. “They are trying to work with us, but we still want a direct answer ‘Yes, we’re going to replace your things.’”

After we reached out, Toledo Edison crews removed the branches from Kretz’s backyard. A representative says they’ll be back Friday morning to take down the entire tree, so it doesn’t cause any problems with the transformer in the future.

“We understand how frustrating this has been for affected customers, and our claims representative is working with them directly to resolve the matter,” Toledo Edison said in a statement.

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