Old Town power outage pinned on curious raccoon
Investigators are blaming a raccoon for a power outage in Old Town in early May, indicating that the critter made its way into a power box and then caused a fuse to blow.
The outage occurred on May 5 and lasted an hour starting at 10:13 p.m., according to a spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power.
Dave Eskelsen, a spokesman for the power company, 30 customers lost power during the outage. The power box is located on the 1100 block of Norfolk Avenue.
He said raccoons are a threat to the power boxes since they are "adept climbers," Eskelsen said. He said the animals might seek refuge at a power box since they generate heat.
Eskelsen said birds and small animals like raccoons cause outages several times each year throughout the Rocky Mountain Power system, indicating similar outages occur with "reasonable frequency."
The Park City Police Department received an initial report of the outage stretching through three to five blocks surrounding the power box, but that was not the case, the police and Eskelsen said.
The Police Department contacted Rocky Mountain Power after the report.
Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the raccoon got out of the power box safely and left the scene. A police report about the incident does not provide details about the witness who saw the animal, Kirk said.
Bruce Johnson, the state Division of Wildlife Resources conservation officer assigned to Summit County, said raccoons are curious animals that are adept at searching for cover or finding new places to explore.
"It wouldn’t surprise me. They’re great climbers . . . They can get into things, crawl into things," Johnson said.
He said he is aware of instances of raccoons causing electrical wires to arc and electrocuting themselves.
"It’s not uncommon, and it’s not impossible," Johnson said.
Raccoons are among the small mammals that inhabit the Park City area, with porcupines and mice also commonplace. Bigger animals like deer, moose and mountain lions also populate the area.
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