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Tree trimming accident knocks out traffic lights, power to 954 customers in Danvers Monday

Posted by Ryan Mooney  July 31, 2012 10:44 AM

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Officials with the Danvers Engineering Department are blaming a tree maintenance accident for knocking out power to more than 900 customers for a period on Monday afternoon.

Coleen O'Brien-Pitts, the town's utility director, says that the electrical outage that occurred shortly after 1:30 p.m. was the result of a contractor hitting a primary line while performing scheduled maintenance on Hobart Street.

She declined to name the contractor.

According to O'Brien-Pitts, a bucket being operated by the contractor made contact with the line, causing 629 customers to be without power for 29 minutes, and 325 customers to be without power for more than an hour.

Traffic lights also ceased to function on Endicott Street, Summer Street, Conant Street, Seneca Drive, Strawberry Hill, and Lobao Drive.

No injuries were reported as a direct result of contact with the power lines.

The contractor has been ordered to cease all tree trimming within 10 feet of all energized lines until an investigation is completed.

"They're trimming trees that are growing into the lines," O'Brien-Pitts said. "So they get their bucket over it, they have to maintain certain clearances, they have certain safety protocols and everything, and obviously something wasn't followed.

"That's not a squirrel hitting a line, that's a person."

Electric crews responded to the scene and were able to switch out the damaged line section and restore power.

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com.

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