Thursday’s blackout likely caused by vandalism

Power was out for 10,000 customers from Quick to the Hazeltons for almost 11 hours

Thursday night’s power outage that affected around 10,000 people in the Bulkley Valley and surrounding area from Quick to the Hazeltons was likely caused by vandalism.

“It looked more like vandalism than anything else,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Bob Gammer. “We can’t say conclusively. The crews were just focused on getting the power back on. They don’t have time, and in the darkness, to look around for shotgun shells,”

The location of the damaged insulators was on a pole structure near Quick.

The insulators hold the wires away from the wood pole structure that the line sits up on top of; they are basically the in-between protection layer because the electrified power line would set the wood pole on fire.

“It appears, again we cannot say conclusively, it looks like the insulators were damaged by vandalism. Possibly someone shot at them. It caused the insulators to fail and the pole set on fire and we had an outage,” added Gammer.

This power line feeds the Smithers substation and the line coming out of the Smithers substation goes to Hazelton and feeds that substation so two substations lost their power because of the incident. All of the customers that are fed from the distribution lines that come out of those two substations, about 10,000 customers in total were out.

READ MORE: Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

The blackout lasted from 6:17 p.m. on Thursday until about 5:10 a.m. Friday morning.

“That is a lot of people to have out for that much time, that is really quite something,” said Gammer.

The crews came from Terrace to get the work done.

“The work was actually done faster than it could have because we were able get a helicopter and did our line patrol looking for the damage with a helicopter instead of having to drive the whole distance. That allowed us to find the damage and get the crew working faster,” he explained.

READ MORE: Telkwa not willing to delay 2020 tax sale

“We didn’t fly the crew out, they had to get their truck and drive to it but they knew where to go. That saved time. There is always the risk the outage could have been longer because it could have taken longer, with potentially hundreds of line kilometres and hundreds of structures and you are trying to find a needle in the haystack.”

Gammer added that sometimes BC Hydro does pass along the information to RCMP to open a file if there is more evidence.

“At this point, we just got the power back on and crews need to rest.”


@MariscaDekkema
marisca.bakker@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Mayoral nominations open Sept. 1

Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill confirms she will be running for the top job

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Friendship Centre optimistic MMIWG mural will be painted this year

Following trauma-informed healing workshops, project is now in the design phase

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic high-water levels that halted migration runs

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Most Read