Hydro crews work to repair downed power lines and a utility pole on Millstream Road in Highlands Friday. A truck driver hit and snapped the low lying lines.

Hydro crews work to repair downed power lines and a utility pole on Millstream Road in Highlands Friday. A truck driver hit and snapped the low lying lines.

Truck snags power line, traps driver

  • May. 20, 2011 4:00 p.m.

The north end of Millstream Road was closed for much of Friday after a five-ton truck snagged a low hanging powerline, pulling down a concrete power pole and causing a hazardous material spill from a cracked transformer.

John Mctavish was driving the Slegg Lumber truck northbound on the rural Highlands road around 11:30 a.m. to deliver doors to a home, when he felt the truck jerk backwards. The next think he knew there were sparks flying and wires coming down all around him.

“It scared the crap out of me,” Mctavish said.

He was unharmed and there was only minor damage to the vehicle.

A driver who witnessed the incident called the Highlands fire department, and Mctavish got on the phone to his boss. He was trapped in the cab of his truck for more than an hour with live wires draped over it until BC Hydro arrived to turn off the power.

The power pole fell directly across the road and had to be jackhammered out of the ground before it could be fully removed. The chemical spill from the transformer appeared localized on the concrete.

A dozen Highlands volunteer firefighters secured the site, redirecting traffic and assisting with the cleanup, which was expected to take eight hours. During that time residents in the area were without power and those living north of Cakeb Pike park couldn’t get to and from their homes.

An narrow unpaved access that connects Finlayson Arm Road to Caleb Pike Road  could have been used to bypass the accident, but it was too overgrown to safely open, according to Highlands fire Chief Guy Brisebois.

“We’ll have (the access road) cleaned up before the fire season, but it’s currently un-driveable,” Brisebois said.

This is the second time Brisebois has seen these power lines pulled downed by a tall truck. The last time was about four years ago.

“The lines are low because it’s just a rural road. It’s not meant for these type of trucks,” he said.