A power line fire just west of Missoula caused a brief closure of Interstate 90 during the Tuesday morning commute and left about 1,200 customers without power.


The Montana Department of Transportation reported live wires fell across the interstate between the Airway Boulevard Exit and the Reserve Street exit at about 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Northwestern Energy spokesman Butch Larcombe said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

"The fire started on a pole just west of the I-90 and Reserve Street interchange and the fire caused the power line to drop across the interstate," Larcombe said. "I haven't heard of any specific cause, possibly just some sort of electrical failure that led to a fire on the pole. One thing leads to another and all of a sudden, we have a power line across a major highway."

Larcombe said Missoula area law enforcement agencies responded quickly to maintain safety.

"The Montana Highway Patrol and the Missoula County Sheriff's Office went out and blocked traffic while we dealt with the downed line, and we certainly appreciated their efforts this morning."

According to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the highway was reopened at approximately 8 a.m.

Missoula City Fire Battalion Chief Derek Mullins says that businesses and residences in the areas of Grant Creek and North Reserve Street were out of power for about six hours.

Northwestern Energy was working all morning to try to re-route power to those who were still  out.