Power knocked out in Fort Kent after potato truck hits utility pole

Posted Sept. 24, 2012, at 10:43 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 24, 2012, at 2:46 p.m.

FORT KENT, Maine — Much of Fort Kent, including the area around Northern Maine Medical Center, was without power for just over a half hour Monday morning after a potato truck apparently backed into a utility pole near the town’s industrial park.

The outage did not affect medical care at the hospital, where a backup generator provides power, according to Debbie Pelletier, NMMC human resources assistant. However, offices in buildings not part of the main hospital were without power, Pelletier said.

“It creates a problem for those medical offices,” said Peter Sirois, NMMC executive director. “They have no power and can’t access their computers or records.”

The electrical spike created during the outage also wiped out three of the hospital’s backup batteries for its computers, Sirois said. Technicians were working Monday morning to restore and bring those batteries back.

“All of our records are computerized now, there are no more paper [medical] charts,” Sirois said. “This really makes it difficult when those computers are down.”

Power also was out on Market Street, Charette Hill, East Main Street and Frenchville Road, according to Kenneth Michaud, Fort Kent police chief.

The accident occurred around 9:30 a.m. and Maine Public Service crews were on the scene soon after, according to Virginia Joles, senior communications specialist with Maine Public Service. She said that at the height of the outages, 1,266 MPS customers were without power.

“We rearranged some of the electrical circuits so all but one customer was restored to full power by 10:20 a.m.,” Joles said late Monday morning. “We have crews on the scene replacing the pole.”

Utility crews also were replacing three transformers damaged in the accident.

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