A squirrel causes a massive power outage in Caldwell Parish - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

A squirrel causes a massive power outage in Caldwell Parish

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COLUMBIA, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The power went out in Caldwell Parish for several hours Friday effecting more than 5,000 people and hundreds of businesses. It was caused by a squirrel that got into the Caldwell substation and damaged some equipment. Our Nolan Crane shows us how businesses and schools in Columbia handled the power outage.

If you drove around Caldwell Parish looking to shop this morning you wouldn't have had much luck finding a place that was open. A lack of electricity was to blame. A hardware store in Columbia was one of the exceptions, they were prepared.

"We all have flashlights, we grab our flashlights, go through the stores, pick our customers up, wait on each customer, take care of them," said Billy Johnston.

Despite guiding customers down their aisles, the store manager said not having the store lit up hurt his business.

"We've lost several thousand dollars but we are here open for the customers who do need our products. There are several who've come in. we've been fairly busy," said Johnston.

In addition to hardware stores and other businesses losing their power, so did the schools. As a result the superintendent decided to let all of the students out early.

"We allowed parents to come pick up children if they needed to and asked them to do it before 1:30 when the buses lined up," said Karla Tollett.

Tollett says not having the use of water fountains and other utilities that run on electricity for students and staff to use was the main reason for having a short day. A decision she says is rare.

"Well we very seldom let school out early. It has to be quit an emergency for that to happen," said Karla Tollett.

Power was restored throughout the parish a little after one on Friday afternoon. For some businesses was too late for them to recover their losses, all because of a squirrel.

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