Pole vandals were in 'an amazing amount of peril'

BC Hydro estimates the cost of vandalism to a power pole just outside of Caledonia Senior Secondary to be more than $25,000.

The attempt by someone to cut through the power pole in the early morning hours of Oct. 29 resulted in the school being closed that day while the pole was replaced.

Two teen boys, one 17 and one 15, were arrested  and have now been charged with mischief endangering life, said police.

“We would definitely be looking at options to cover costs,” said BC Hydro official Dave Mosure of the more than $25,000 that was spent by the provincial crown corporation.

Recovering costs could mean going through civil court, he added.

The teens, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, were arrested Oct. 29 after witnesses called police at 2:48 a.m. early that morning to report two figures in dark clothing looking as if they were  trying to saw through a power pole outside of Caledonia, said Terrace RCMP.

Two people ran when they saw police but officers followed and found two people attempting to hide in bushes on the nearby Howe Creek Trail, police said.

Officers then followed footprints in the snow that had recently fallen and recovered a hand saw, police added.

The pole had nearly been sawn through, officers at the scene reported.

BC Hydro and Telus lines plus an anchoring guy wire held the pole and kept it from falling over, said Mosure who called the scene a dangerous situation as the pole could’ve broken off and fallen, injuring anyone in the area.

The pole was cut almost like loggers would cut it, and if it had come down, it would’ve been straight down on the teens as it “flopped down on top of itself,” said Mosure.

“They were in an amazing amount of peril, whether they realized that or not,” said Mosure of the people who cut the pole.

BC Hydro was told that this area was where school buses dropped off students, he added.

A Terrace BC Hydro  pole replacement truck, which has an arm with grappling hands instead of a bucket to lift a person, arrived and used its grappling hands to support the damaged pole until another crew from Prince Rupert could come to assist with replacing the pole, said Mosure.

In total, two crew members from Terrace and three from Prince Rupert plus two trucks were needed to replace the damaged pole, he said.

Power was shut off to the school for the day Oct. 29 and turned back on around 2 p.m., Mosure added. There had to be a momentary outage to the surrounding neighbourhood as part of replacing the pole so about 300 homes went dark for a little bit, said Mosure.

The two arrested teens were held in custody overnight before appearing in court.

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