Electric line failure causes grass fires, power outages

More than 300 lose electricity, cable

Failure of electric lines Thursday caused two small grass fires and cut off power to approximately 300 Craig residents and businesses.

At around 2 p.m., Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA) employees were working on a faulty underground cable at the corner of Ledford and Eighth streets when two blown fuses created a grass fire in a vacant field north of Sunset Meadows. YVEA personnel extinguished the fire and continued work when an electrical arc burned down the overhead line in the same area causing another grass fire at a vacant house across the street. Craig Fire/Rescue members were called to the scene but the second fire was already 90 percent out, Fire Chief Roy Mason said.

"We had a lot more people out of power than we anticipated," YVEA Line Superintendent Vic Rose said.

People from Fourth Street to the north side of Craig and from the west side of Yampa Avenue to Finley Lane were without power for more than an hour.

YVEA and TCI Cable, whose service went out at the same time, were both swamped with calls from customers. The cable outage was a result of the electrical outage, Rose said.

"This was a major one," he said.

According to Rose, YVEA is in the long-term process of replacing underground cables to enhance system reliability. They have been working on the project for the past five years.

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