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Semi hits pole, knocks out power to half of Cranbrook

Crews work to restore power and telephone service to about 2,000 properties after a semi hit this pole on Victoria Avenue on May 22. - Mike Turner photo
Crews work to restore power and telephone service to about 2,000 properties after a semi hit this pole on Victoria Avenue on May 22.
— image credit: Mike Turner photo

About 2,000 Cranbrook properties were hit by a power outage on Thursday evening, May 22, after a semi hit a power pole on Victoria Avenue.

According to RCMP, just before 5 p.m. on Thursday, a semi collided with a BC Hydro pole outside Canadian Tire on Victoria Avenue in Cranbrook.

The driver was not injured and the semi didn't sustain any damage, but the repair costs to the power pole and lines are estimated to be more than $20,000, said Cpl. Barry Graham of the Cranbrook RCMP.

That particular power pole feeds the underground service to the Tamarack Centre and the surrounding area, said Diane Tammen, community relations manager for BC Hydro.

"Although the pole that was struck was not broken, it was leaning and had to be straightened and secured," she said.

Not only the mall but also Western Financial Place – which was gearing up to host a Charley Pride concert – and East Kootenay Regional Hospital lost power in the outage, which impacted 2,032 BC Hydro customers in the area north of 2nd Street South, east of College Way, north of Victoria Avenue and north of Cranbrook Street.

Victoria Avenue was closed to traffic and a detour set up while the pole was repaired.

Tammen said that when crews arrived on scene, they switched the hospital and Western Financial Place to another circuit, allowing power to return to those facilities by 6:15 p.m.

More customers were restored and the problem isolated by 7 p.m.

The mall was back online by 8 p.m., along with about 90 per cent of the affected BC Hydro customers.

"Crews continued working on the repairs and at about 2:00 a.m. on May 23, all customers had been restored," said Tammen.

Coincidentally, a second outage occurred just an hour later when some BC Hydro equipment failed.

It affected about 363 properties, mostly residential, north-west of Kootenay Street, east of Cranbrook Street, and south of Willowbrook Drive.

The power was restored to those homes by 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 23.

"Crews replaced faulty underground elbows and a circuit junction box," said Tammen.

Meanwhile, RCMP are reminding drivers what to do when a traffic light is not working.

"No related collisions were reported with the loss of power to some of the area traffic lights, despite some observed confusion of a number of motorists," said Cpl. Graham.

"Cranbrook RCMP remind the general public that all lighted intersections revert to a four-way stop when out of operation."

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