A TECO utility pole caught fire shortly before 7 a.m. today at the intersection of Hillsborough and Rome avenues as the morning rush hour started to mount.
Tampa police closed the intersection shortly after 7 a.m., and eventually all of Hillsborough Avenue between Florida and Armenia avenues while TECO crews worked the site. Diverted traffic caused extra heavy volume on local roads, including Florida, Sligh, and Central avenues, plus Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Interstate 275.
TECO spokesperson Cheri Jacobs said, "We had to shut off the power to about 1,200 customers for about 10 minutes," as the crews worked on replacing the damaged pole with a new one. As for the cause of the fire, Jacobs said, "It is likely a piece of equipment (on the poll) was damaged from the lightning storm last night."
Hillsborough Avenue was opened up shortly after 11:30 a.m.