Crash on West Pine Street knocks out power

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WALLA WALLA -- Close to 1,800 people were without power Tuesday after two power poles were knocked down by an industrial garbage truck.

The failure started about 1:47 p.m., after a Basin Disposal Inc. truck failed to lower its boom after emptying a large, commercial-sized Dumpster in the 1200 block of West Pine Street.

The extended equipment hooked with power lines, causing damage to two poles, officials said.

Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt said the majority of customers had power restored by about 3:20 p.m. He said 74 customers remained without power until shorty after 2 a.m. Wednesday, when crews finished restoring the two power poles and damaged wires.

Gauntt said the majority of customers were able to get power rerouted from other sources, but people living in the immediate area were likely the ones who had to wait until the work was finished.

"Nothing can really get there until those are replaced," he said.

Richard Greenwood, a BDI spokesman, said the driver forgot to lower his truck's boom in what was called an accident. BDI provides trash disposal outside city limits in Walla Walla County.

Greenwood said the trash receptacles, or drop boxes, are larger than conventional trash bins or Dumpsters, measuring about 20 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high. He said the power lines were between 18 and 20 feet above the ground.

Deputy Chief Bob Yancey with the city's fire department, said crews were sent to the scene and were there about 20 minutes. Firefighters were mainly concerned with making sure the live wires did not cause damage or injuries. Yancey said the electrical wires lost power.

Yancey said one power pole was completely knocked down, while the second suffered damage to its top. The force also knocked down electrical wires, with several draping across a pickup parked nearby that was carrying a load of old fence posts, Yancey said.

The truck smoldered from the electricity running through the metal, but never ignited. The smoldering was quickly contained once power to the lines was cut, Yancey said. He added that residents may have heard a loud boom or crash as the electrical equipment malfunctioned.

Sections of Pine Street were apparently shut down into the night while crews worked.

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