CALLAWAY — A nesting bird led to a short power outage spanning most of Callaway, Parker and Springfield on Monday morning, according to a Gulf Power official.
More than 11,000 customers lost power just before 11 a.m. Monday in large portions of eastern Bay County after the bird entered Gulf Power’s Parker substation, according to spokesman Jeff Rogers.
“It was a small bird,” Rogers said, and “It had some nesting material with it. It may have been flying over it and landed in the wrong place.”
Power was restored to all but a few customers within 45 minutes.
Gulf Power reported the outages affected 11,289 customers, including Parker and Callaway elementary schools, several homes and businesses in an area roughly bounded by U.S. 98 and Tram Road on the north, School Avenue on the west, East Bay on the south and extending about half a mile east of Star Avenue.
Deputies with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office initially were called to the elementary schools as the power went out, a precautionary measure should students have to be released.
″Power outages are something we train and prepare for,” said Sharon Michalik, Bay District Schools’ director of communications. “This morning’s outage was, thankfully, short, and so schools were able to carry on the teaching and learning with minimal disruption. It wasn’t especially warm today, so we didn’t have to worry about anyone overheating either, which was helpful.
“Our principals work closely with our district team when these things happen to make sure our students are safe,” Michalik said. “That’s our first priority, and that we’re able to adapt to take care of them in the best manner possible. ”
Deputies also were dispatched to monitor busy intersections until the traffic lights were back in operation but weren’t long at their posts, with most areas back on the grid by 11:30 a.m.
Rogers said Gulf Power’s substations are gated but open on top.
“They are pretty high and secure,” he said. “We’ve got squirrel protectors, but it’s hard to stop a bird from landing in there.”