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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Squirrel blamed for West Shore power outage, delaying FCAT

TAMPA - A power outage caused by a squirrel left 700 customers in the West Shore area – including three schools – without power for more than an hour Monday morning. The outage delayed FCAT testing during the time the schools were in the dark. “I’ve about had it with squirrels,” Tampa Electric Co. spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said after power had been restored to customers, including Jefferson High School, Roland Park Magnet School and LaVoy Exceptional Center. The squirrel gummed up the power at 8:30 a.m., she said.
“Animals are responsible for nearly one in every five power outages,” she said. “Squirrels are the main culprit, but birds and snakes are causes, too.” This one, she said, was the work of a wayward squirrel. “We actually found the offending mammal,” she said. “It was too late for any sort of hopeful medical attention.” Hillsborough County schools spokesman Steve Hegarty said the outage delayed FCAT testing for about an hour. “The power went out and then came back on,” he said late Monday morning. Jefferson and Roland Park are next to each other, he said. LaVoy is in the area. FCAT testing was delayed by the outage, he said. “We postponed the testing,” he said, “and then resumed it when the power came back on.” A squirrel was the blame for a power outage at the end of February that resulted in Tampa’s David L. Tippin Water Treatment Facility to go offline. The upshot of that, Tampa’s water customers were advised to boil water for three days. The rodent chewed through a power line causing the outage at the pumping station. The city ended up having to pay nearly $30,000 in overtime to employees to correct the problems caused by the loss of power.

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