Friday, March 21, 2008

Pickup truck 1, power pole 0

Sun Valley Co. worker takes out pole in Ketchum

Express Staff Writer

Thanks to Idaho Power, Ketchum residents retained power after a pickup truck ran into a power line pole on Tuesday, March 18.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Idaho Power for fixing the pole without having to turn off power to north Ketchum," said Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle.

Elle said the accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. when a Sun Valley Co. employee ran into the pole, located in the alley on Fourth Street between East and Walnut avenues.

"It sheared the pole off at the ground and also broke it about two feet above that," Elle said. "The pole was being held up by the truck and the high tension wires."

Elle said his department, which had just begun a weekly drill at its nearby station, evacuated businesses in the vicinity of the accident, including Sun Valley Heli Ski Guides and Premier Cleaners, and closed surrounding streets to secure the scene.

After being contacted by the department's dispatch, Idaho Power sent up a team from Twin Falls with a new pole and a backhoe to make the repair.

Elle said the team was able to replace the damaged pole with a new one, shutting off power to only three or four businesses in the process. The high-voltage wires remained live as they were transferred from pole to pole.

Elle said there were no injuries and that the truck suffered only minor damage.

"Once again, this is an argument for undergrounding power lines within the city," Elle said. "This seems to happen from time to time and could be avoided."

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