Beaver to Blame After B.C. Service Outage


An unlikely culprit was to blame for a power outage that left hundreds of residents without service. Officials confirmed that a beaver left many people in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, without internet, cellular service and landline for over eight hours.

A beaver gnawed its way through a tree, as beavers do, with this one falling on both the B.C. Hydro lines and a Telus fibre optics cable line that was strung along the hydro poles between Topley and Houston.

The power outage wasn’t even the worst part since it only affected 21 customers. Ultimately, it was the fibre optics damage that left people scrambling in several communities, with many Telus customers unable to use their cell phones.

Although many did enjoy a peaceful afternoon disconnected from the world, the service outage was a large issue for many businesses that could only accept cash.

“It was a real nuisance… nobody usually carries cash anymore. People turning north onto Highway 37 typically fill up [at] this gas station because the next one is two hours away,” said Brett Johnson, an auto technician at the Petro-Canada gas station located near Kitwanga.

After arriving at the scene of the crime, B.C. Hydro crews determined a beaver was to blame because of the chew marks that could be seen at the bottom of the downed aspen tree situated nearby. Since the lines are located in a swampy area known for high water levels, the crews had difficulty accessing the site.

“It’s unusual, but it does happen every once in a while. So I wouldn’t be a rich man if I had a nickel for every beaver outage, but they do happen,” Bob Gammer, an official with B.C. Hydro, said. Gammer also mentioned that it’s not uncommon for utilities to share pole space, referring to the fibre optic damage.

The fallen tree also resulted in a fire, which was put out by members of the Topley Volunteer Fire Department.


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