Raccoon sparks major power outage in Rio Rancho | KOB 4
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Raccoon sparks major power outage in Rio Rancho

Eddie Garcia
December 14, 2017 05:15 PM

RIO RANCHO, N.M. -- Patricia Gomez got a jolting front row seat to Wednesday night's major transformer eruption near Iris and Paseo del Volcan in Rio Rancho. She lives right next door.

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"It was like an earthquake or something, it cracked the house literally cracked," Gomez said.

Mark Haley lives a few miles away. He saw it too.

"It looked like a UFO was landing the way," he said. "The lights were flashing and sparking and the light rays coming up from the ground. It was crazy looking."

Then everything went dark for more than 9,600 PNM customers in Rio Rancho and parts of Corrales. For Gomez, it was quite different -- no power indoors but a blinding light from sparks and flames outdoors.

"We ran out," she said. "We were looking for something. We were trying to grab whatever I could see with the light from the fire to grab a house coat," she said.

Dan Ware, a PNM spokesman explained what happened.

"A large raccoon wandered in, probably looking for a warm place to bed-down for the night and came with the transformer," he said.

Most of the area is protected with a 12-foot brick wall, but an attached fence does have gaps.

"Maybe put some kind of wire three or four feet up on these openings," Haley said.

KOB-TV asked Ware whether PNM will work to somehow make the fence even more secure.

"This is just one of those rare occurrences," he said. "But again, when all is said and done, we'll take a look at best practices and see if something could be different."

Credits

Eddie Garcia

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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