A power outage at about 6 am Friday, April 1, canceled a day of school at Dillon Valley Elementary and resulted in the loss of power for 2,700 customers in Silverthorne, Dillon and Georgetown.
According to Xcel Energy’s website, the first outage occurred on the north side of Summit County. A second outage occurred at 8:48 am Power was fully restored by 7 pm Friday.
Summit Fire & EMS spokesperson Steve Lipsher said power poles caught fire and melted the power lines.
Xcel spokesperson Michelle Aguayo said at least two power poles along US Highway 6 were involved in the incident. Lipsher said one pole was near Lakeside Drive and the other was near the Big Baldy eagle sculpture overlooking Dillon Reservoir.
As to why the power poles caught fire, Aguayo said she did not have further details.
“It’s not an uncommon occurrence for that to happen,” Aguayo said. “Sometimes if you have winter weather, rain, snow – it can get on lines that have a buildup of debris on them, and it can start a fire.”
When the power poles caught fire, Lipsher said authorities decided to close both lanes of traffic along US 6. Dillon Police Chief Cale Osborn said the closures began at about 6:25 am The Summit County Sheriff’s Office assisted in closing the highway while Xcel crews worked to de-energize the lines and reinstate power.
At about 7:28 am, both Dillon police and Sheriff’s Office sent pulled away from the scene after one of the county’s patrol cars got caught in the downed power lines. The power lines got tangled in the deputy’s light bar on the roof of the vehicle, said Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons. The incident did not damage the vehicle or cause injuries to the deputy.
During the highway closure, no other collisions or injuries were reported.
Xcel Energy’s site said that rolling outages were expected to occur until about 1:30 pm, which is why Summit School District officials decided to cancel the school at Dillon Valley Elementary. District spokesperson Andrea Ridder said the school was without power when leadership arrived at the building, and they were concerned that intermittent power outages would disrupt the school day.
Ridder said Dillon Valley Elementary was the only school that was impacted.
Power seemed to be restored to much of the area quickly. As of 10:45 am Friday, Xcel Energy’s site showed that only 120 customers in Dillon were still impacted.
Most businesses in the area said they were not impacted by the power outages. Staff at Silverthorne restaurants such as Enza’s Delicatessen & Market, House of Vibes, Blue Moon Bakery, Sunshine Cafe and Mountain Lyon Cafe, in addition to True Blue Coffee & Gelato in Dillon, all said they didn’t lose power and were able to operate as normal. However, the outages impacted the ability of some employees to get to work on time.
One business that did have to delay its opening was Arapahoe Cafe & Pub in Dillon. Co-owner Bonnie Lehman said one of her employees texted her at 6 am to let her know the cafe didn’t have any power. Lehman said she pasted a sign to the door to let customers know the cafe was postponing its opening time of 7 am
At around 7:45 am, Lehman said the cafe got its power back, so she called her staff back to open the cafe at 9 am Lehman said she was glad the cafe only missed two hours of business hours and that she was thankful the power outage happened when it did.
“If this had happened a week earlier, we would have been a little more upset about it just because we would have been in peak spring break season. We’re sort of happy that it was on a Friday morning after spring break rush as opposed to a Saturday morning, “Lehman said.