A stray party balloon is being blamed for sparking a utility pole fire that knocked out electricity to a good part of West Reading and its traffic lights Tuesday morning.

The fire was reported shortly before 10 a.m. at South 2nd Avenue and Kline Street.

Met-Ed reported that 565 customers -- 27 percent of the borough -- were without electricity for more than an hour.

Fire police were dispatched to the intersections of 5th and Penn avenues 5th and Franklin avenues to direct traffic.

Penn Avenue is a busy route for people traveling between downtown Reading and the West Shore Bypass to the east and the city's western suburbs.

Ambulance crews responding to the emergency room at Reading Hospital were advised to use caution when traveling through the borough.