Beaver causes massive power, internet, landline and cellular service disruption in BC

A beaver caused a massive outage of internet, landline and cellular service for more than eight hours in northeastern British Columbia, Canada early this month.

The beaver gnawed its way through an aspen tree which then fell on both BC Hydro lines and a Telus fibre-optic cable line strung along BC Hydro poles between Topley and Houston.

The fibre optics damage affected Telus customers in Burns Lake, Granisle, Haida Gwaii, the Hazeltons, Kitimat, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Terrace, Thornhill, Houston, Topley, Telkwa, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof.

BC Hydro official Bob Gammer said crews identified a beaver as the culprit because of chew marks at the bottom of the downed tree.

The lines are located in a swampy area and with the high water levels, there was some difficulty accessing the site, he added.

“It’s unusual, but it does happen every once in a while,” Gammer said. “So I wouldn’t be a rich man if I had a nickel for every beaver outage, but they do happen.”

The felled resulted in a fire which was responded to by members of the Topley Volunteer Fire Department.

Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain said cell service was affected because some of the cell towers use fibre connections allowing higher bandwidth.

And he said northwestern communities are vulnerable because there is just one fibre optics cable between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

But that will change because CityWest is laying a second fibre optics line, this one down the coast to connect to Vancouver.