EAST WENATCHEE – A squirrel in East Wenatchee halted television programming for thousands of Grant County customers on Saturday.
The squirrel crawled on cables, was electrocuted, fell and caught grass on fire, which damaged a power pole about 4:30 p.m.
The fire destroyed the support arms on the pole, power lines and the fiber optic lines carrying the television signals for Grant County users, according to Douglas County PUD officials.
Another squirrel crawled on power lines and caused a power outages for about 1,000 customers in East Wenatchee at 7:15 p.m., according to spokeswoman Meaghan Vibbert. They were without power for an hour.
Douglas County PUD crews worked through the night to repair the damaged pole and replace the support arms. They also had to replace about 50 yards of fire damaged fiber optic lines, according to officials.
“We had to wait for them,” said iFIBER Communications Director of Technical Operations Bob McGurdy. “There was nothing to do on our end but wait.”
Power was restored to the East Wenatchee customers first.
Douglas County PUD crews had to reset the fiber optic system after the lines were replaced to restore TV service in Grant County. The television service was restored by 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
“This is a very rare event,” said iFIBER Communications CEO Kelly Ryan. “We hate the loss of service at any time. Considering the rarity of the event, they did a great job to restore the service.”
NOTE: iFIBER Communications is the parent company of iFIBER One News.