Pierce County substations restored, power returns to thousands

Dec 27, 2022, 8:49 AM | Updated: 9:16 am
(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Power is now back on for everyone in Pierce County after vandals damaged four utility substations Sunday, leaving more than 14,000 people celebrating Christmas Day in the dark.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says just before 5:30 a.m. Sunday, they got a call about a burglary at the Tacoma Public Utilities Substation off 46th Avenue in Graham.

4 Pierce County utility substations vandalized, cutting power to more than 14K on Christmas

Deputies found the fence had been broken into, then someone cut a lock and made their way inside, causing damage to the substation.

There were two other disruptions at power stations reported at 224th Street East and 144th Street East.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department says deputies will be monitoring all substations, but they currently don’t have any leads on suspects.

In a statement, Tacoma Public Utilities said they are working with federal law enforcement officials to investigate the attacks.

“The investigation into today’s incidents is ongoing, and therefore we cannot provide any further details about the incidents to allow law enforcement time to do their job. We appreciate customers’ patience while we work with law enforcement to investigate the damage to our substations,” TPU said in their statement. “Our most immediate priority is safe, quick restoration of power service to all our customers, and we will keep our customers informed about our power restoration efforts.”

While the Seattle field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not acknowledge its involvement in accordance with their standard practice of not confirming or denying ongoing investigations.

“We do take threats against our infrastructure seriously and urge anyone with information to contact law enforcement,” an FBI statement said.

Deputies responded to the fourth attack Sunday night at a substation on Kapowsin Highway East. The sheriff’s department said vandals broke in and damaged equipment and caused a fire.

They’re asking anyone living near the three substations to check security cameras for any suspicious activity between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

If you have any information, you are urged to give the sheriff’s department a call.

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Pierce County substations restored, power returns to thousands