Archive for Thursday, July 22, 2004

Outage darkens downtown for brief period on Thursday

July 22, 2004

A power outage Thursday, July 15, left the city of Basehor without power for more than an hour and caused a multiple difficulties with the traffic signal at U.S. Highway 24/40 and 155th Street.

The outage, which occurred at 10:25 a.m., lasted for about an hour and 15 minutes, said Karla Olsen, Westar Energy senior manager of media relations.

"There was a transformer malfunction," she said. "We were not able to safely switch to another circuit without overloading it."

Basehor Police Sgt. Matin Cigich said the outage knocked out the traffic light at 155th Street. Later, the light malfunctioned several times throughout the day.

"The light was out or off several times," he said. "We were very fortunate there were no accidents."

In order to deal with the situation, Cigich went to the intersection several times, but said it was the help of others that really helped the traffic situation. Two Basehor public works and maintenance employees brought out portable stop signs and helped Cigich direct traffic through the busy intersection. Eventually, he said, an officer from the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department also arrived at the scene to assist the three men.

"I was up there four or five times, twice by myself," Cigich said. "It went a lot smoother with the help of the (city) maintenance people though."

Although there were no accidents as a result of the malfunctioning signal, Cigich said traffic was very heavy at times and that type of a situation is always dangerous to an officer.

"There are probably more officers killed controlling traffic than by being assaulted by a suspect," he said. "It can be very dangerous, especially if you aren't paying close attention."

Cigich said a Kansas Department of Transportation employee came and looked at the light, and the last problems with the signal occurred at approximately 3 p.m. that day. There were no reports of problems with that light, or any other the following day, July 16.

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