Crash knocks out power

The 400 block of First Street East and Scott Street was without power for several hours Monday night after a pickup truck rammed into a hydro pole, destroying the transformer.
No one was reported injured when the truck, travelling down the back alley between Scott Street and First Street East, lost control and hit the hydro pole.
The vehicle was sandwiched between a garage and the fallen pole, with power lines downed and spread out on the ground like a spider web.
“He hit it very hard because it broke in three places and the pole flipped right over from bottom to top, top to bottom,” Mark McCaig, president and CEO of the Fort Frances Power Corp., said Tuesday morning.
The transformer, a canister which transforms high voltage running through the wires to lower voltage levels that run into homes, came crashing down to the ground and was destroyed.
Power went out immediately for most of the block.
McCaig said crews were on the scene within 15 minutes of the accident, which occurred around 6:30 p.m., and had power restored by 12:30 a.m.
He added it’s rare to have a transformer come down in a crash.
“A pole really has to be broken hard for that to happen. A transformer is not on most of the poles,” McCaig noted, adding the FFPC initially estimated the accident resulted in $5,000 in damages.
Fort Frances OPP Cst. Al MacDonald said no charges have been laid at this time in connection with the accident. “The investigation is continuing into the cause of the accident in the laneway,” he remarked.
He was unable to say how many people were in the vehicle at the time but witnesses said there were two young men in the truck.
Pamela Merrin-Dick lives on Scott Street right behind the accident site and came running out immediately after she heard the crash.
“The power went off as I felt the building shake. I thought a tree had fallen over and hit the building,” she said.
She saw two people emerge from the truck, shaken and quiet.
“I thought how could they possibly get out of the truck without electrocuting themselves,” she added, looking at the labyrinth of power lines around the vehicle.
“I asked them how they got out and they said ‘through the driver’s door.’ Weren’t there wires? [she asked] ‘A few,’” she recalled.
Meagan Berry also bolted out of her house after the crash.
“The windows shook, the table shook, and I came outside to see what happened.”
She was shocked to find the truck caught beneath the hydro pole. “I thought, ‘Wow what happened? What were they doing?’”
She admitted that, after finding out the vehicle’s occupants were all right, trying to complete her homework by candlelight weighed on her mind.
Fire Chief Steve Richardson said the Fort Frances Fire Department responded to the scene because of the threat with the downed power lines. “There is the potential possibility of electrocution when that many lines come down,” he said.
“We always tell people that if there’s an accident with a hydro pole and if the vehicle is not on fire, there is no danger to stay in the vehicle until directed that the power is off,” he added.

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