Back to school in the dark for Badger Mountain Elementary - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Back to school in the dark for Badger Mountain Elementary

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- A power outage at Badger Mountain Elementary gave students there a memorable first day of class.

The kids actually found it kind of fun to have class in the dark, but for school administrators and Richland Power Operations, not so much.

Crews were looking for the source of the power outage from the crack of dawn and this afternoon they found the pipe containing the damaged wires. The pipe will lead electricity crews to what caused a day of darkness for Badger Mountain Elementary School.

Lanterns glowing on desktops allowed students to see the teacher to learn on this first day back at school. The school doesn't have a generator, but they do have a storage facility with lanterns and flash lights for days like this.

"Working with kids you always have a plan and if something falls through there's always a back up plan. So we've had to use some back up plans today as far as communicating with each other throughout the building but with a great attitude," says Gail Ledbetter, Badger Mountain Elementary Principal.

Richland School District Support Services Director, Mark Panther, says electricity issues are fairly common. 

"It's not untypical that during the school year we'll have power issues at schools during times when there's a heavy load on the electrical grid. So we are always prepared," says Panther.

Ironically, this same type of power outage happened Monday at another Richland school.

"Twice in twenty-four hours at two of our elementary schools. Basically the same type of electrical problem. I don't know what the odds are on that happening but I know I wasn't expecting this today," says Panther.

An electrical line to the school was damaged and now crews are working hard to find the exact source to repair it. They may need to dig to install a whole new cable.

"It's just years of fatigue and years of use. Everything is mechanical and it can and will fail," says Brett Buckner Richland Power Operations.

The school district says power will be back by Tuesday morning. Crews say they'll work through the night if needed to make sure power is restored for the second day of school.

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