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Who turned the lights out?
Two separate events left about 14,800 people in the Sequim-Dungeness area without power Monday morning and evening.
A fallen tree is the culprit in leaving more than 13,000 people from Blyn to Sequim without power for about half an hour beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1.
Doug Johnson, a spokesman with the Bonneville Power Administration, said its dispatch center realized there was an issue around 9:30 a.m. and it took 30 minutes to transfer lines to help Clallam PUD restore power to customers. BPA sent out a helicopter that observed a logging crew along the power line that had cut a tree into the line.
Johnson said they patrolled the line via helicopter to make sure there was no further damage.
Michael Howe, Clallam PUD executive communications coordinator, said the line from the Fairmont Substation in Discovery Bay to Happy Valley is owned by BPA and if there were further outages, crews investigated to see if there were blown fuses.
High winds contributed to the second outage on Monday around 8 p.m.
Howe said 1,800 PUD customers in the Mains Farm, Gales Addition and Kitchen-Dick areas lost power for an hour and a half.
The outage was caused by tree limbs falling onto power lines and it affected different residents because the lines run toward Port Angeles, he said. PUD crews restored power at 9:35 p.m.
During the morning outage, several businesses — including grocery stores, banks and restaurants — had to stop service. Sequim police directed traffic briefly at major intersections across the city.
Lt. Sheri Crain with Sequim Police Department said she encourages drivers and pedestrians to be more alert because any number of situations could occur. She said the Sequim Police Department doesn’t have the manpower to handle every intersection, and if there is an outage, drivers and pedestrians should treat intersections as an uncontrolled intersection, like a four-way stop with alternating turns.
“It should be able to function on its own,” Crain said.
Police maintain patrols during outages, looking for potential flare-ups and dealing with situations as they occur.
The fire department’s emergency response won’t stop, either. A generator automatically starts during an outage at the Clallam County Fire District 3 main station in Sequim, said Fire Chief Steve Vogel. Each station has its own generator and Vogel said when the town’s power shuts down operations are ongoing for fire crews.
Vogel said there weren’t any issues during the brief outage and it usually takes a few hours with the power out for calls to come in.
“For prolonged power outages we know our call volume is going to increase,” he said. “Some people have oxygen concentrators in their house and they don’t have backup cylinders so they call 9-1-1 for help.
“Usually, people do fine for a while. Some have oxygen cylinders, so if it’s prolonged, then we have to go out. Olympic Ambulance is a good help, too, because they have a good supply of oxygen.”
In the schools, Patsene Dashiell, community liaison for Sequim School District, said classes weren’t disrupted except for those trying to use computers, and Greywolf Elementary never lost electricity but did see its lights flicker.