Sparks fly as downed line causes electrical hiccup in Port Angeles
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Russ Veenema
A downed electrical line sparks as police and firefighters arrive on Marine Drive across from the Boat Haven in Port Angeles.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Blips in the lights and any other electronic equipment felt Friday afternoon in central Port Angeles were the result a downed power line on Marine Drive, city light operations staff said.

Repairs were finished early evening Friday.

The mishap occurred a little before 3 p.m. after a Port of Port Angeles flatbed truck clearing tree branches in the 800 block of Marine Drive, near High Tide Seafoods Inc., backed into a guywire supporting a power pole, said Brian Anders, an electrical engineer with the city of Port Angeles.

The guywire snapped, causing the power pole to shake and the power lines it was supporting to slap together, Anders said.

The wires' contact caused the casings to melt and one of the lines to fall to the ground with electricity still running through it.

Sparking line

Responding Port Angeles police officers found a fully charged line lying on the ground, Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.

The Port Angeles Fire Department also was called out to deal with small ground fires caused by the sparking live wire, though the fires eventually burned themselves out, Smith said.

No injuries were reported as a result of the downed line, though traffic was restricted to one lane for about three hours, Smith said.

City electrical personnel shut off power to the immediate area to repair the line, and turned the power back on after repairs were completed at about 7 p.m. Friday, city electrical operations manager Jim Klarr said Saturday.

Klarr said all downed lines should be considered live and kept well away from­ — even by emergency first-responders — until city light engineers are able to assess the situation.

“When a [power line] is on the ground, you should always consider it energized,” Klarr said.

The line that fell Friday had 7,200 volts running through it, Klarr said.

That is more than enough to kill anyone who might have touched it.

“If you made contact with that and you were standing on the ground, it'd be catastrophic,” Klarr said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 27. 2012 5:39PM
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