Flames could be seen from the top of the pole after an insulator failed causing a blackout affecting more than 8,000 Vernon residents Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Alysha Munk - Vernon & Area Community Forum)

Flames could be seen from the top of the pole after an insulator failed causing a blackout affecting more than 8,000 Vernon residents Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Alysha Munk - Vernon & Area Community Forum)

Insulator failure behind Vernon blackout

Power was restored to all affected customers by 3:42 p.m. Thursday

A blackout Thursday morning left more than 8,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark until mid-afternoon.

Communications representative Jen Walker-Larsen said the blackout occurred when a glass insulator had failed.

“It’s a spacer between the wire and the pole because of course, the line is energized and you can’t have it right against the wood,” Walker-Larsen said.

The insulator could have cracked or failed some other way, but its failure allowed for the energized wire to touch the wood and ignite it.

READ MORE: Vernon blackout leaves 2,500 in the dark

READ MORE: Vernon hospital has ‘hectic’ morning after blackout

“Quite a scary thing to be woken up by,” a nearby resident said in the Vernon and Area Community Forum on Facebook. “Woke the whole block up.”

Flames could be seen from the top of the pole. Once the fire was extinguished, BC Hydro crews were looking at a big job, Walker-Larsen said.

Two crews were dispatched to repair the utility pole.

“It was a challenging job,” she said. “That pole had other services on it as well as two distribution circuits and a lot of cables. It was pretty complicated.”

Restoring service to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital was priority number one, she said.

“It is critical infrastructure.”

By 3:42 p.m., power had been completely restored to all affected customers.


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Two BC Hydro crews were dispatched to repair the utility pole after a fire caused a black out on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Heidi Hancock - Vernon Rant & Rave)

Two BC Hydro crews were dispatched to repair the utility pole after a fire caused a black out on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (Heidi Hancock - Vernon Rant & Rave)