Waswanipi in the dark for several hours after truck downs wires

The entire Quebec Cree community of Waswanipi was without power for several hours Tuesday after a snow removal truck took down some overhead wires. 

Box of snow removal truck took out wires, chimney and siding of a house

A snow removal truck with its box raised got caught up in some overhead wires Tuesday morning, causing a community-wide power outage in Waswanipi. (Submitted by Matthew Ottereyes)

The entire Quebec Cree community of Waswanipi was without power for several hours Tuesday after a snow removal truck took down some overhead wires. 

A security perimeter was set up just after 8 a.m. on Pine Street in the James Bay community located some 750 kilometres north of Montreal, according to Matthew Ottereyes, a maintenance supervisor with the community's housing department. 

"The truck driver forgot to put the box [of the truck] down. It was still up and some wires were kind of low," said Ottereyes. "He hit the wires and he started pulling all the wires off." 

Ottereyes, who also lives near where the accident happened, says a house also ended up with damage to its chimney and siding. 

"The wires went right over the house and he caught the chimney and ripped off the chimney," said Ottereyes.

He said the driver of the snow removal truck was forced to stay in his vehicle for several hours because there were concerns about live electrical wires. 

The wires also got caught on the roof of a nearby house, taking out a chimney and some siding. (Submitted by Matthew Ottereyes)

A Hydro-Québec maintenance crew was sent from Amos and arrived mid-morning, according to Patrick Compartino, a community relations advisor for the public utility. He says full power was restored by 1 p.m.

Waswanipi's school, administrative and maintenance buildings were closed throughout the morning and reopened Tuesday afternoon.

"We would like to thank the quick response of the fire department in preventing any further damages and containing the site with parameters to protect us from harm," said a notice posted on the Cree Nation of Waswanipi's Facebook page. 

"Also would like to acknowledge the workers of Hydro-Québec with the prompt and efficient repairs."

Reports that internet and phone service were also affected couldn't be confirmed. 

The power was fully restored to the community around 1 p.m. (Submitted by Matthew Ottereyes)


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