Maine has had several widespread power outages recently. One from an ice storm in Southern Maine on March 24, and a second just a week-and-a-half later on April 4. Lots of trees came down during those two storms due to the significant amount of ice and snow on tree limbs. At one point, over 300,000 homes in Maine were without power.

A much smaller outage occurred in Lewiston on April 24, a month to the day after the ice storm in Southern Maine. But this one was not caused by the weather, leaving Central Maine Power crews scathing their heads trying to figure out what caused it.

It turns out that the carelessness of someone with party balloons caused this power outage, to 1975 homes near the Kennedy Park area. CMP crews found the remnants of balloons hanging on electrical wires, causing the power outage.

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The power was out for about two hours, which isn't bad, considering Mainers have had to deal with outages that lasted much longer during the two storms.

Let this be a lesson. If you're going to have balloons at your party, whether it's a birthday, baby shower, bridal shower, or whatever, don't let go of those balloons. Make sure they are secured tightly so that they don't go flying away into power lines.

Letting balloons filled with helium can also cause harm to wildlife and ecosystems in Maine. Most helium balloons are made of latex and are not eco-friendly. So wherever they land could be a problem for the environment, since latex takes years to break down, because it is mixed with plasticizers and other chemical additives that hinder the biodegradation process.

Maybe next time, just use your hot air to blow up those balloons to keep them safely on the ground, and your power on.

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