A forgetful truck driver wreaked havoc on power, television, internet and phone services to the East Kootenay on Saturday.
Just before 1 p.m. on November 12, a boom truck driving along Highway 3 from Mayook to Cranbrook pulled down service lines for BC Hydro, Telus and Shaw, and closed the highway for an hour, according to Cranbrook RCMP.
“The police investigation determined that a boom truck had left a work site without retracting its overhead boom,” said Cpl. Pat Prefontaine.
“As the truck drove back to Cranbrook, the boom came into contact with Hydro lines across the highway and severed them, along with phone and television service lines for Cranbrook, Kimberley and the Elk Valley.”
Two BC Hydro crews rushed to the scene and found that one pole had been shattered, another was cracked in half and a third had enough damage that it needed to be replaced, according to Diane Tammen, BC Hydro’s community relations manager for the East Kootenay.
Ten BC Hydro customers on Mayook Settlement Road lost power at the time of the collision, and another 70 customers in Mayook were disconnected while the crews replaced the poles. Power was restored by 8 p.m.
But that was just the start of the work required to bring cable, internet and telephone back online.
Telus worked through the night Saturday to restore phone and internet service to 6,000 customers in Fernie, Jaffray, Sparwood and Elkford.
Crews couldn’t start the repairs until BC Hydro had replaced the poles and done their own line repairs.
Coupled with the poor weather Saturday, Telus service to the Elk Valley wasn’t restored until 4:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Shawn Hall of Telus media relations.
About 10,000 Shaw customers in Cranbrook and Kimberley lost their cable when the power lines went down. The truck’s boom severed fibre optic cable that feeds both cities.
The section of fibre was replaced and service was restored about 3 a.m. Sunday, said Chris Kucharski, Shaw’s vice president of operations.
RCMP said the driver of the truck sustained minor injuries and was treated by paramedics at the scene. The driver has been charged with driving without due care under the Motor Vehicle Act.