Kennewick Power Outage - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick Power Outage

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - A furry four-legged animal affected thousands of people in Kennewick Saturday morning.

Benton P.U.D. said power was out for about two hours after a squirrel got into a transformer.

Officials said anyone north of Kennewick General Hospital was without power in Benton County.

Power was also out at several traffic lights, which police said can cause serious problems.  

Kennewick Police were using flares to alert people that the traffic lights were not working properly.  Sergeant Brian Swartswalter said, "Anybody that drives a car should know that if the power is out at an intersection you treat it like a stop sign."

Swartswalter said many people do not stop.  He said in the past he has seen problems, "There have been a couple of accidents when people were going fast and collided in the intersection."

Vicki and Pat Kirby said they went for a walk when their power went out.

Vicki said, "I was registering online for summer school so I don't know if it took or not."

Pat said, "I was reading the paper when the lights went out and I couldn't see a thing."

P.U.D. said Kennewick General Hospital and the police station were also affected.  Kennewick City workers hooked up generators at traffic lights.

Police said they are glad it happened on a Sunday when there were not many people on the road.

Swartswalter said, "As long as people don't get in a hurry, luckily it's a Sunday.  It's not a big deal because traffic is light today."

P.U.D. said once in a while a squirrel or another type of animal will get into the transformers causing outages but they said power was back on for everyone by noon.

The squirrel did not survive.