Two homes caught fire in Dix Hills after a cesspool truck ran over an electric box while backing up on a driveway Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
The force of the truck shorted out a power grid about 3:15 p.m., Suffolk County police said, causing a fire at two houses on Randolph Drive.
Police said PSEG Long Island responded, shutting down power to the block and forcing the evacuation of multiple homes.
Jeff Weir, a PSEG spokesman, said the truck driver "slid off the road," and, in "an attempt to get unstuck, he happened to be on top of an underground splice box."
"When he tried to move back and forth, to get out, he damaged the box, then the equipment inside, which caused a surge," Weir said.
Robert Fling, first assistant chief of the Dix Hills Fire Department, said fires broke out in the basements of both homes, and on the first floor of one house.
With two homes ablaze, Fling said he asked PSEG to turn off power to the street. "I had two fires caused by this, I couldn't take a risk of losing the whole neighborhood."
Fling said Saturday evening he did not know if all evacuated homeowners had returned home.
Weir said late Saturday about eight customers still had not had their power restored.
A number of fire departments responded to the blaze, Fling said. They included Dix Hills, Deer Park, Commack, Greenlawn, Huntington Manor, Melville, Hauppauge, East Northport, and the Commack Volunteer Ambulance.
Police said there appeared to be no injuries and the arson squad is investigating.