ROSSMOOR, Calif. (KGO) -- What may seem like a small problem for Pacific Gas & Electric Company has become a major headache for the senior community at Rossmoor - near Walnut Creek.
Residents say an old power pole near their development has been the source of repeated grass fires and they want it replaced.
Down a steep hill - just North of Rossmoor - where the squirrels look for nuts, and hummingbirds hunt for nectar, sit the old wooden power pole -- pockmarked with holes from woodpeckers.
"It's a potential disaster and we've dodged it," says longtime Rossmoor resident Jim Brennan. He says in the fifteen years he has lived here, that pole and local wildlife have inadvertently teamed up to spark at least five grassfires.
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"The squirrels climb up those wires or are jumping from one wire to the next. Unfortunately, they are getting electrocuted, hitting the ground, and causing these massive fires," according to Rossmoor spokesperson Ann Peterson.
The last fire was in late September and firefighters managed to put it out before it got to any structures.
Since Jim Brennan lives directly above the pole, he keeps a heavy duty garden hose handy to fight the flames while waiting for firefighters to arrive.
"It would just take one unlucky time to burn this building down and it would go quick," he says.
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"We've been told three different times the pole would be replaced. It has not been replaced yet," Ann Peterson adds.
But on Friday, PG&E gave a statement to ABC7 News. It reads in part: "We plan on replacing the pole. Additionally all vertical conductors and connections will be covered when we replace the pole. This will help prevent faults from animal contact."
Rossmoor officials and residents say they have been told the new pole should be in place later this month.
"We've done as much as we can. We now need PG&E to follow through on its promise," Peterson said.
Rossmoor community wants dangerous PG&E power pole replaced