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Drunken driver takes power from city

 


Drunken driver takes power from city

Half of town loses power during frigid New Year's Eve, damages pool heater

Zach White

A drunken driver on the east edge of Havre didn't hit anyone, but he did black out half of the town and dampened community members' hopes of swimming.

According a Montana Highway Patrol report, 10 minutes before midnight, a 20-year-old Havre man was driving down 24th Avenue East, or Roller Coaster Road, toward Clear Creek Road. The driver went through a stop sign and a fence to take out a utility pole and its guy wire.

With the guy wire down, NorthWestern Energy's substation on the east side of town failed, and everyone east of 5th Avenue lost power.

Claudia Rapkoch, NorthWestern's director of corporate communications, said that it took more than two hours for power to be returned to eastside customers.

Those two hours, with last Friday's low temperature pushing minus 30 degrees, were all it took to put the Havre Community Swimming Pool out of commission.

With the power out, the pool's heater stopped, and pipes froze in all the wrong places.

The pool is closed while waiting a new heater to arrive.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Inman said the parts have been ordered. She expects them to arrive by the end of this week, and should be installed by Monday or Tuesday.

Inman also said that this is the second time this part has been replaced in the past few years. It was purchased and installed in the last two or three years, and cost almost $6,000.

Inman said she anticipated the cost being roughly the same.

Mayor Tim Solomon said that the pool was the only part of the city's property he knew of that was harmed by the blackout.

A drunken driver on the east edge of Havre didn't hit anyone, but he did black out half of the town and dampened community members' hopes of swimming.

According a Montana Highway Patrol report, 10 minutes before midnight, a 20-year-old Havre man was driving down 24th Avenue East, or Roller Coaster Road, toward Clear Creek Road. The driver went through a stop sign and a fence to take out a utility pole and its guy wire.

With the guy wire down, NorthWestern Energy's substation on the east side of town failed, and everyone east of 5th Avenue lost power.

Claudia Rapkoch, NorthWestern's director of corporate communications, said that it took more than two hours for power to be returned to eastside customers.

Those two hours, with last Friday's low temperature pushing minus 30 degrees, were all it took to put the Havre Community Swimming Pool out of commission.

With the power out, the pool's heater stopped, and pipes froze in all the wrong places.

The pool is closed while waiting a new heater to arrive.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Inman said the parts have been ordered. She expects them to arrive by the end of this week, and should be installed by Monday or Tuesday.

Inman also said that this is the second time this part has been replaced in the past few years. It was purchased and installed in the last two or three years, and cost almost $6,000.

Inman said she anticipated the cost being roughly the same.

Mayor Tim Solomon said that the pool was the only part of the city's property he knew of that was harmed by the blackout.

 

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