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Posted: 2/28/2002 5:55:56 PM EDT
Sabotage may be to blame for outage By Laura Hancock Deseret News staff writer Two federal agencies and the Olympic Joint Terrorism Task Force are looking into whether sabotage at a Utah Power substation is to blame for Sunday's outage that left 33,000 homes without power and sparked a fire at a North Salt Lake oil refinery. A Utah Power employee displays mangled metal from failed circuit breaker. Several agencies are investigating possible criminal activity. Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press A bomb response team and post-blast investigators from the Bomb Management Center were sent to the scene following an explosion at the substation, 4800 West 700 South, an FBI official told the Deseret News. Investigators found a hole cut in the fence surrounding the substation, but it appears the hole might have been there as long as two months before the outage, the official said. The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating the incident but have not officially confirmed or denied that a bomb or criminal activity is suspected. "It is an ongoing investigation," said Robert Flowers, commander of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command. Flowers said there were "things that led us to believe" the incident merited a criminal investigation, but he refused comment on what they were. A statement released by the Olympic Joint Information Center stated the Olympic terrorism task force will interview people possibly connected to the incident. The area near the circuit breaker "has been processed," the statement said. "Investigators are awaiting laboratory results." The FBI declined further comment on the incident or investigation. The outage started at 10:07 a.m. and involved parts of Salt Lake, Tooele and Davis counties, including Bountiful and Kaysville. The two cities have their own municipal power companies but are interconnected with Utah Power's transmission system. Power to all customers was restored within two hours. "We had circuit breaker failure at the terminal substation," Utah Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said. The terminal substation is a "major distribution point," he said. "The cause of the circuit breaker failure is under investigation. We are cooperating with the FBI, and there's no more comment that we can offer," Eskelsen said.
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 6:19:47 PM EDT
I was just throwin this out there because no one else has. This has been over the news, but I have not seen much in the way of national coverage. The details keep pouring out on this incident-albeit very slowly. The FBI and the BATF have confirmed that explosives were used and that it was not a malfunction of equipment that caused the power outage. Now they do suspect criminal activity. I was just wondering if you all think that this is more of what we are likely to see in the wake of 9-11. Just curious.
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 8:34:14 PM EDT
This is the first I've heard of it, but I've been busy all day and haven't even had the radio on. My initial thought is this is not a result of "international" terrorists. Probably someone local with a grudge.
Link Posted: 2/28/2002 8:41:34 PM EDT
I could see that a local would do it, but to what end? I am just thinking from a risk v. reward standpoint. The same thing goes for a foregin terrorist-risk v. reward. What was the point? Did they know what they were doing or was it planted on just any old part of the substation? Strange thing is that it was done in the middle of the morning, and not at night (the obvious time to do dirty, sneaky, under-handed things). Just curious.
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