ST. GEORGE – St. George residents in the Dixie Downs, Green Valley and Tonaquint areas lost power for just over 30 minutes Saturday night, and the cause has once again been traced to those foxy foxes.
“This is extremely rare for it to happen twice in a two-month period,” Marc Mortensen, assistant to the St. George City manager, said.
On Oct. 5, a similar power outage affected the same areas of St. George, and it was discovered in that instance that a fox was the culprit. Saturday night, another little critter struck again at the Green Valley substation. A fox got inside a transformer cabinet, trying to find a warm spot to get away from the cold, and was electrocuted.
“I could tell just the way the power was on in certain areas it looked exactly like it did the time before,” Mortensen said. “ … Sure enough, within 10 minutes I got a text saying the fox got past all our traps.”
After last month’s incident, three humane traps were set to keep the foxes away from the transformer, and Mortensen said the city has also ordered special equipment – a custom-made attachment to seal the cabinet door – but it hasn’t arrived yet.
He said the opening in the cabinet that the foxes are getting in through is so small it would seem impossible for them to get inside, but they do.
“It’s amazing what they can squeeze into,” he said.
“You’d be shocked to see – no pun intended – but you’d be amazed to see how small the hole is that these little foxes get into,” he added.
Mortensen said the city tries to humanely trap and release foxes and other animals to keep them out of the transformer cabinets.
The fox that shut down the power Saturday night was electrocuted and died, as did the fox that got inside the transformer last month.
The new preventive equipment should arrive within the next week or so, Mortensen said, and should alleviate the problem so no more foxes or other small animals can get inside the transformer cabinet and disrupt power service.
A journeyman lineman from St. George Power responded to the outage and had power restored in just over 30 minutes.
“Some (areas) were less, some were slightly more,” Mortensen said.
Ed. note: Day of incident clarified.
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