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Published October 28, 2009, 07:38 PM

Sugar beet truck causes short power outage in EGF

The driver of a sugar beet truck hoisted the truck’s box in a field near East Grand Forks about noon Wednesday, contacted a power line and got shocked when he touched something connected to the box.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

The driver of a sugar beet truck hoisted the truck’s box in a field near East Grand Forks about noon Wednesday, contacted a power line and got shocked when he touched something connected to the box.

The driver had just dumped beets at the American Crystal Sugar Co. factory and was back in a farm field about 4.5 miles south of the city to dump the dirt that comes in with beets, said Jeff Anderson, engineer with the East Grand Forks Fire Department, who was one of the first responders to the 911 call.

When Anderson got there, the driver was standing in the field next to the truck and told them how he had gotten a shock, and he was taken to Altru Hospital for observation. When the driver raised his box to dump the dirt, the box came in contact with a power line, unbeknownst to the driver, who hopped out of the cab with no problem.

But when he grabbed a scraper attached to the metal truck box to finish cleaning out the dirt, he was zapped, Anderson said.

There were no visible signs of damage to the driver, the truck or the power line, Anderson said.

The momentary short, though, did cause a power outage to about a third of the city, in the northeast sector, for about 40 minutes, said Dan Boyce, general manager of the city’s Water and Light Department.

The truck was driven from the scene, undamaged, apparently, Anderson said.

The man’s name was not released by officials. The power company inspected the line and restored power without incident.

Only about 10 percent of the sugar beets in the region remain to be harvested.

Herald reporter Ryan Johnson contributed to this story.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com.

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