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Copper thieves knock out Fortis BC communications Monday, RCMP now involved in investigation

The signs at the Fortis BC substation warn the dangers inside the facility.

RCMP in Castlegar is conducting a full investigation into a damaged Fortis BC fiber optics cable on right-a-way near a substation next to the Tarry’s Fire Hall across from Kalesnikoff Lumber at 2103 Highway 3A.

Sometime in the past few days a coiled fiber optics cable attached to the side off of a power pole had come loose probably during a recent windstorm.

Early Monday morning a person, possibly looking for copper, cut the hanging cable knocking out the communications at the Fortis BC System Control Centre.

“It appears the person was looking for copper in the line because when the line was cut nothing was taken,” Const Ron George of the Castlegar RCMP told The Nelson Daily.

“But when they cut the line they severed the fiber optics cable.”

The damaged cable resulted in Fortis B.C. losing communications with some of its facilities.

“We experienced a loss of communications sometime in the last 24 hours, however, we are able to communicate manually and there was no interruption to any of our customers,” Lisa Corcoran, Communications Advisor with Fortis BC said Monday from Kelowna.

George said Fortis BC had to bring in specialists to re-attach the line, which was fixed by Monday evening.

Cooper thefts have been on the rise in the major centers as thieves target power and telephone lines looking for the precious metal which can be traded for cash at scrap dealers.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact Castlegar RCMP at (250) 365-7721.