Utility switch malfunction causes sparks to fly near Denver | PostIndependent.com

Utility switch malfunction causes sparks to fly near Denver

The Associated Press
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

DENVER (AP) ” Loud noises and bright flashes from a malfunctioning electrical switch rattled the foothills west of Denver early Tuesday near an old uranium mine, authorities said.

Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies confirmed the sparks flew from electrical equipment on a private road near the inactive Schwartzwalder Mine, spokesman Jim Shires said.

There were no injuries and no reports of radiation, he said.

Helicopter video on KMGH-TV showed bright white flashes coming from a utility pole in the area. United Power spokesman Troy Whitmore said after viewing the video, officials at the company believe a switch serving the mine had been shaken loose.

He said there was no explosion, but the continued electrical arcing could resemble a blast.

“It can cause a little bit of fireworks and some noise,” he said.

High winds and blowing snow likely contributed to the incident, he said.

Some very brief power interruptions were reported in the area overnight, but power was routed around the switch and by morning no homes were reported without electricity, he said.

Whitmore said the switch mainly served the mine, which used large amounts of electricity when it was in full operation.

United has about 62,000 customers in six Front Range counties.

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