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Downtown traffic accident causes second power outage

Four hundred Park Rapids customers were without power early Sunday morning when a car struck a power pole downtown.

It is the second traffic mishap this month that caused Minnesota Power customers to be left in the dark.

The Sunday outage began shortly before 1:30 a.m., said Minnesota Power spokesperson Kelley Eldien. Power was restored to 90 percent of the customers after an hour, but linemen had to take the city off power again around 7 a.m. to complete repairs.

Power was fully restored by 7:20 a.m.

On Sept. 3, a freak accident occurred when a boom truck with its bucket extended snagged a power line on Seventh Street South, causing 1,600 customers to lose power for nine hours.

"Both of these were unfortunate accidents and out of our control," said Amy Rutledge, Minnesota Power's head of communications.

Nevertheless, the company is obligated to make repairs and get customers back on line as quickly as possible, she said.

"If there is vehicular damage or damage from a contractor, we file a damage claim to recover the costs of the necessary repair," she said.

During the first outage, the company called in nine linemen to get power restored and called in an additional five the next morning.

Sunday, it only took a two-person crew to repair the damage, Rutledge said.

"Regardless of how it happened, it's our job to get service restored to our customers as quickly as possible," she reiterated.

Cost estimates to repair the damage in both cases were not available, she said.