Tree fellers send high-voltage cable to spark on the ground

2014-08-05 00:00

TWO loud explosions echoed in Chase Valley area yesterday, leaving residents angry and without electricity.

The explosions were caused by a electricity pole accidentally brought down by municipal workers who were felling trees.

Some residents feared to come out of their homes for fear of the sparking, 11 000-volt cables lying dangerously alongside the road.

One resident, who did not want to be named, was furious that it took the electricity department hours to switch off the live cables.

The voltage was so high that the cable burned the grass and firefighters were called to extinguish the fire.

He said the incident occurred around 11 am, when municipal workers were cutting trees in the bush near Chase Valley Gardens. Some of branches knocked down the pole.

“The workers were not wearing any protective clothes, which is very dangerous,” he added.

He said the female workers had seemed to be traumatised by the incident.

“The municipality is going to use a lot of ratepayers’ money to fix this,” he said.

When the electricity department eventually arrived to check on the situation at around 3 pm, workers used special equipment to test whether the supply to the cables were switched off.

Residents were highly relieved.

Georgina Celliers said, “We could not do

anything except stay locked inside our property. I heard two loud bangs and I thought a truck had knocked onto my property but when I came out I saw fire burning the grass.

“The man who had been tree felling had parked the car outside my property. After the damage he drove off,” she said.

She realised that the situation was deadly and phoned the fire department, which responded quickly to extinguish the fire.

Celliers was furious that the electricity department took so long to respond.

“Someone could have been fried if they drove over those wires,” she said.

She added her neighbours in Frankish Road in Chase Valley Heights had informed her that the power surge had damaged their electronic equipment.

By yesterday evening electricity had still not been restored to the road, but municipal workers were on site to try to fix the problem.

Attempts to get hold of the Msunduzi Municipality were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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