Furniture truck pulls down 5 power poles resulting in power outage, road closure

UPDATE: At approximately 3:30 p.m., Marc Mortensen, assistant to the St. George City Manager, notified St. George News that it would be closer to 6 p.m. before full power was restored.

In addition, two more poles have been replaced, making a total of seven power poles.

Mortensen said he was thankful the city had the resources to dedicate to this massive project, essentially putting in two blocks worth of power utilities in one day.

Mortensen added that they were able to get two portable HVAC units to the Ridgeview Gardens of St. George assisted living facility and that they brought in generators to run them. He also thanked the community for their help with residents and workers on such a hot day.

“People have been great to our city residents and crews,” he said.

ST. GEORGE — A tangle between a furniture truck and cable line Friday led to a power outage and road closures on 1200 East in St. George.

A furniture truck snagged a low-hanging cable line, pulling down five power poles, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
A furniture truck snagged a low-hanging cable line, pulling down five power poles, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

Just before noon, St. George Communications Center received notification of power lines in the road and multiple downed power poles. Marc Mortensen, assistant to the St. George City Manager, told St. George News that just before noon, a furniture truck snagged a low-hanging TDS Telecom cable line.

“The driver didn’t realize he had snagged the line and kept driving,” Mortensen said. “It actually broke a pole, and that pole subsequently broke four others down the line.”

The driver of the truck drove approximately 80-100 feet before realizing what happened, Mortensen said.

Crews arrived on scene and set up a hard closure on 1200 East from 200 South to 400 South while repairs were being made.

A furniture truck snagged a low-hanging cable line, pulling down five power poles, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
A furniture truck snagged a low-hanging cable line, pulling down five power poles, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

“We’ve got multiple crews, energy services as well as water crews, to dig holes and get new poles set,” Mortensen said.

Thomas Fierro, records specialist for SkyWest Airlines, was at his desk when the power went out in the building.

“It was about 11:30 I guess, the power just went out,” Fierro said. “We lost all of our PCs, and everything just went black.”

When he and other employees came outside, they discovered the power lines had come down in the street.

Power was rerouted and restored to the largest customer affected by the incident, SkyWest Airlines; however, Mortensen said some additional businesses and residents in the vicinity would experience longer power outages while the poles were replaced. Approximately 200 customers were affected by the outage.

A furniture truck snagged a low-hanging cable line, pulling down five power poles, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
A furniture truck snagged a low-hanging cable line, pulling down five power poles, St. George, Utah, June 17, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

At 1 p.m., Mortensen estimated a two- to three-hour time frame before power would be restored to all customers. Power is currently out from Interstate 15 to River Road and 400 South to 200 South.

Mortensen said their primary concern at this point is restoring power to Ridgeview Gardens of St. George, an assisted living facility that doesn’t have backup generators.

“They’ve made plans to have family members pick up a lot of their clients,” Mortensen said. “We have also made available a backup generator.”

Some access will be available to local traffic, Mortensen said, but other traffic is being rerouted.

“It’s a serious situation,” he said. “We’re asking folks to stay away from that area while crews do their job.”

No one was injured in the incident, which Mortensen said was fortunate in light of the extent of the damage.

We’re lucky that nobody got hurt,” he said. “This was a serious situation. You’ve got hot power lines lying in people’s yards, due to the circumstances. We take this very seriously. We de-energized the line as quickly as possible. Crews were here on site within a few minutes. So we’re just grateful no one was hurt.”

Mortensen called the situation an “amazing coordination effort.”

“We’ve got easily 15 different crews working on the site,” he said. “We have five different departments working together.”

St. George News reporter Don Gilman contributed to this article

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: pdail@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • Bob June 17, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    humm

  • .... June 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    That’s what happens when you have some RealLowlife dumbob driving a truck. LOL ! Well here comes a furniture sale to help pay for legal expenses !

  • CaliGirl June 17, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    So was the driver cited? This will cost Blvd Home Furnishings a pretty penny! Yikes, maybe Blvd should employ smarter drivers/delivery people.

  • Proud Rebel June 17, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Not surprising, I see these delivery trucks from Boulevard Furniture, driving like maniacs all the time, around this entire area. How the devil can anybody driving anything not realize there is a problem there when their vehicle starts jerking around from hitting overhead lines? I hope this guy is looking for a new job now.
    And TDS certainly shares a lot of the blame here, for having their cable under height. I imagine it’s going to cost both Boulevard and TDS a pretty penny when all is said, done and the bills are sent out.
    Both companies are extremely lucky there were no injuries or fatalities from this mess.

  • chilered June 18, 2016 at 12:36 am

    oh well, time to look for further employment.

  • Jimmym June 18, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Do we know if the truck driver was at fault, or if the low hanging TDS line was simply hanging too low?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

    • DRT June 18, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Seems to me like it is obvious that the TDS line was hanging too low. But it is also obvious, that the driver of a vehicle, particularly a commercial vehicle is responsible if that vehicle hits anything. Low hanging lines, branches or anything else are something that any good vehicle operator is going to be aware of.

  • tcrider June 18, 2016 at 10:05 am

    perhaps the truck hit bump from road gutter crossing and caused the truck to bounce really high and it started catching lines and it just snowballed from there, or maybe its the crumbling saint george infrastructure just slowly sagging to the ground.
    another example of failing infrastructure would be redoing the roads without any thought of the road grade becoming higher, so when the monsoons come the water goes into everyones home instead of draining into the streets.

  • Bob June 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    well, the truck looks no taller than any big moving van u-haul type truck, the question is whether the power company will sue the utility for this “low hanging wire”

    • .... June 18, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Oh wow good observation Sherlock..you better get some rest now. you must be exhausted after having such an intense thought like that

  • ladybugavenger June 18, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve seen the way they pave roads around here, they just keep the same bumps in them. Riverside drive is a good example. I was hoping when they repaved it it would be smooth, but nope! They don’t do good work around here. I’m sure power lines are the same bad quality of work

    • .... June 18, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Ladybug. .yeah Riverside Drive is a joke

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