Fishy circumstances cause power outage in Seattle

Dec 15, 2016, 1:05 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2019, 10:50 am

power outage...

A bird dropped a fish on power lines in South Seattle, causing a 2.5 hour power outage in the area. (Andy Morffew, Flickr)

(Andy Morffew, Flickr)

Seattle City Light has to respond to outages with a wide range of causes — birds, raccoons, tree branches. But a Wednesday power outage in South Seattle was a new one for the utility.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was talking to the dispatcher,” said City Light spokesperson Connie MacDougal. “I asked, routinely, what the cause of the outage was. He said, ‘Well, you’re not going to believe it.’ I said, ‘Was it a raccoon?’ He said, ‘No, a fish.’”

“It is rare,” she said. “I’ve been here 16 years and I’ve heard of raccoon-caused outages and many bird outages. But never a fish.”

‘Mistake’ causes massive downtown Seattle power outage

A bird apparently caught some lunch, likely from the nearby Duwamish River. But high in the sky, the fish fought for its freedom and won — briefly. The bird dropped the fish, which fell on some power lines below. It caused a power surge and, in turn, some fuses to blow. The result was a power outage for 172 customers that lasted about 2.5 hours.

“It just lost its grip on the fish at an inopportune time and dropped the fish on the power lines,” MacDougal said. “It basically caused a short … and the power went out and the fish was electrocuted.”

A witness to the incident was able to point crews to the scene of the power lines and the fried fish.

Last year, more than 160 birds caused similar power outages. Two bald eagles died after hitting power lines.

MyNorthwest News

Image: A Seattle Police Department vehicle...

Kate Stone

Police pursuit, parental rights initiatives go before Washington lawmakers

Police pursuits and parental rights in schools were in the spotlight in Olympia as lawmakers considered two citizen-led initiatives.

19 minutes ago

Image:South Kitsap High School basketball Coach Anthony Lewis lies in a hospital after being shot r...

James Lynch

South Kitsap High basketball coach injured in random I-5 shooting

Anthony Lewis was driving on Interstate 5 in Pierce County Sunday when someone opened fire, injuring the high school basketball coach.

1 hour ago


Matt Markovich

‘Strippers Bill of Rights’ takes big step forward in state Legislature

The Washington state House advanced a so-called ‘Strippers Bill of Rights’ along a party-line vote 58-36, but not before making substantial changes to the original Senate version.

4 hours ago

Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

Congressional leaders reach deal to prevent a government shutdown; Ukraine aid stalls

Congressional leaders reached a tentative agreement Wednesday to prevent a government shutdown for now.

5 hours ago

Image: Bayside neighborhood resident Jane McClure addresses the Everett Historical Commission at th...

Feliks Banel

Will Everett mayor accept compromise to save Clark Park gazebo?

The Everett Historical Commission discussed the city’s request to tear down the Clark Park gazebo and offered a strategic compromise instead.

8 hours ago

FILE - A sign stands over a Wendy's restaurant . (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)...

Heather Bosch

Wendy’s ‘surge-pricing’ strategy scrubbed after viral backlash

Dynamic pricing would allow restaurants to quickly raise prices in reaction to rush hour or inclement weather.

9 hours ago

Fishy circumstances cause power outage in Seattle