Broken power line puts La Plata Electric customers in dark

Businesses along west side of Main Avenue affected by outage

Like many businesses on the west side of Main Avenue, the Steaming Bean Coffee Co. stayed open for business but accepted only cash during the power outage Tuesday afternoon. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Like many businesses on the west side of Main Avenue, the Steaming Bean Coffee Co. stayed open for business but accepted only cash during the power outage Tuesday afternoon.

A tree limb fell across a power line near Greenmount Cemetery, knocking 1,858 La Plata Electric Association customers out of power for about 55 minutes to two hours Tuesday.

The power to the vast majority of customers was out from about 3:40 p.m. to 4:35 p.m. Crestview – 483 customers – waited two hours because the circuit serving them was where the fault occurred, LPEA spokeswoman Indiana Reed said.

The outage came at an inopportune time for Dennis Wakeman, a maintenance worker at the Durango Transit Center.

He was trapped for several minutes in the building’s elevator when it “stopped abruptly.” After pushing the elevator’s help button, personnel from Durango Fire & Rescue Authority responded to get him out.

“They opened the door manually with some kind of tool,” Wakeman said.

Businesses along the west side of Main Avenue were affected by the outage. Most banks and restaurants closed their doors for the duration.

Others, like Animas Trading Co. and the U.S. Post Office, stayed open for business for customers who could pay in cash and had exact change.

“It was exciting, an adventure – like camping,” said Post Office window clerk Heather Kinailuk.

The outage extended from the Crestview neighborhood to the west side of Main Avenue and to Lightner Creek to the west, Reed said.

“The fault occurred near the Westside Substation located near Greenmount Cemetery,” Reed said. “When the system senses a problem, it shuts down to protect the substation.”

daler@durangoherald.com

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