Image: Mechanistry

Many residents of northwestern B.C. (British Columbia) were left without internet, landline, and cellular service for more than eight hours earlier this month on June 7, and officials have now identified the surprising cause: a single, pesky beaver. CTV News reports that the rodent “gnawed its way through an aspen tree,” which ended up falling on power lines and a Telus fiber-optic cable strung between Topley and Houston, resulting in a bad day for residents who required connectivity. Only 21 customers were affected by the power outage, but the damage to optical fiber is said to have affected Telus customers in many regions, including “Burns Lake, Granisle, Haida Gwaii, the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Thornhill, Houston, Topley, Telkwa, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.” Telus is one of Canada’s major telecommunications companies, headquartered in Vancouver, B.C.

“It’s unusual, but it does happen every once in a while,” Gammer said. “So I wouldn’t be a rich man if I had a nickel for every beaver outage, but they do happen.”

BC Hydro official Bob Gammer said crews identified a beaver as the culprit because of chew marks at the bottom of the downed tree.

The lines are located in a swampy area and with the high water levels, there was some difficluty accessing the site, he added.

The felled tree did result in a fire which was responded to by members of the Topley Volunteer Fire Department.

While some enjoyed the unconnected afternoon, the service outage created stress for others because many businesses could only accept cash.

Source: CTV News

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3 comments

  1. Although not quite the same but we had a varmint-related outage at my job about 10 years ago. A raccoon decided to climb up a power pole behind our office building and somehow(probably chewing on something) managed to fry itself on the plasma canister at the top. The resulting power surge fried one of our AC/Heating systems along a part of, ironically, the fire alarm. When we got to the building the fire alarm was ringing erratically and the whole building smelled like roadkill and various parts of it were without power. We found its mostly intact tail at the base of the pole and its toasted carcass in pieces a few feet away. The worst part was yet to come. It took a couple of weeks to get everything repaired and remaining the AC systems still had the roadkill stench. This was during the end of summer when we were still in the 80-90s. I'd rush home just to take a shower to wash that off.

    On a further side note. It could've been a moose!

  2. Although not quite the same but we had a varmint-related outage at my job about 10 years ago. A raccoon decided to climb up a power pole behind our office building and somehow(probably chewing on something) managed to fry itself on the plasma canister at the top. The resulting power surge fried one of our AC/Heating systems along a part of, ironically, the fire alarm. When we got to the building the fire alarm was ringing erratically and the whole building smelled like roadkill and various parts of it were without power. We found its mostly intact tail at the base of the pole and its toasted carcass in pieces a few feet away. The worst part was yet to come. It took a couple of weeks to get everything repaired and remaining the AC systems still had the roadkill stench. This was during the end of summer when we were still in the 80-90s. I'd rush home just to take a shower to wash that off.

    Yeah at one of my datacenters racoons would get into the electrical boxes and generator shed and fry themselves chewing stuff. Frequently taking out power to the whole building and sometimes the generator wouldn't kick on bc they damaged something. Our electrical facilities staff was constantly complaining about dead critters in those.

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