Ashcroft’s new garbage truck proved that it was made of sterner stuff last Tuesday, May 6 just before noon when a power pole fell on top of it while staff were collecting garbage.
Driver Joe Paulos had to remain inside the truck for two hours and 20 minutes while BC Hydro crews came from Kamloops to cut power to the attached lines.
Village administrator Michelle Allen said the pole had been marked for replacement by contractors who are checking all of the Hydro poles in town. She said the truck didn’t touch the pole or wires when it suddenly came down. She added that BC Hydro has indicated that it will pay for the truck’s repairs.
“Where it fell was probably the best place” it could have to cause the least amount of damage.
Some of the electronics will need to be fixed, like the cameras that were smashed.
“It’s a brand new truck,” she said. “It’s supposed to last 20 years!”
She said that after the accident, the public works crew told her that the truck was working perfectly, and that they’d been tweaking it so that everything was working just right!
She said it was disappointing that Hydro took so long to arrive, but the Village is grateful that the accident wasn’t worse. “It brought back lot of memories for most of us,” she said, of Village worker Dave McKay’s death 14 yrs ago. “Same street, same wires, same time of year,” she said, although he was in a tree when he contacted live wires.
The Village’s safety training paid off, said Allen. Paulos driver killed the engine and didn’t get out, and he called for help.
The pole had three transformers on it, weighting 900 pounds each. Hazardous Materials specialists, BC HAZMAT attended to clean up the leak from the transformers.
At their May 12 meeting, Ashcroft Council publicly thanked Allen for her dilligence in attending to the accident. They also thanked the Public Works crew, “thanking them and recognizing that they did a great job in following their training for emergencies like this,” said Mayor Andy Anderson.
Coun. Helen Kormendy said the incident made her wonder how many poles around town needed replacing, and how much of a danger they constituted to the public.
“You have a rotten pole that could go at any time,” said said. “It could have fallen on children playing nearby…” She urged Council to send a letter to BC Hydro asking them what their plan is for other poles in town that have been earmarked for replacing.
Allen and some of the Council members noted that they had seen “red-circled” poles around town which indicated that they were rotten and needed to be replaced.