Englewood homeowners not happy with power pole, utility line repair job in Harlem neighborhood

Section of old pole suspended in mid-air
Posted at 8:22 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 22:22:14-04

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Residents in Englewood's Harlem neighborhood, near South Washington and Belleview, say they are not happy with the repair job on power poles and utility wires that were damaged during a snagging accident last November.

Witnesses say three poles snapped in half, on November 27, when a junk-hauling truck with a crane snagged the lower wires.

"Sounded like a big pop"

Cindy Rayfield was on the phone looking out her window when the accident happened.

"It sounded like a big pop," she said. "Then the driver got out... and started grabbing the lines with his bare hands."

Rayfield said she and several neighbors ran out and told him to stop, out of fear that the wires "were still live."

"I think he was probably hoping that no one saw him do it, but it was loud enough that neighbors all around heard it," she said.

Liquid Leak 

Homeowner Rob Caton told Denver7 there was a transformer on the pole that snapped in his back yard.

"There was some sort of liquid leaking out here," he said, pointing to a new section of fence that repair crews replaced. "They were in these chemical suits removing everything."

He said the hazmat crew even removed some soil near the fence.

Preliminary Repairs

The damaged poles were replaced and the power lines were reattached to the new poles, but the cable and phone wires remain attached to a section of the old pole, which is suspended in mid-air and tied to the new pole with a cable.

The wires reaching from that suspended section to Caton's house, are barely four feet above ground.

"To me, its pretty dangerous," Caton said. "I've had Xcel come out. I've had Xfinity and CenturyLink out here and they're all pointing fingers at each other."

Companies Respond

Xcel Energy told Denver7 that it is not a dangerous situation.

Company spokesman Mark Stutz said crews replaced the poles and reattached Xcel's power lines, but not Comcast or CenturyLink lines.

"We don't have authority to move the other lines," he said. 

Stutz added that when power poles are replaced, they typically reach out to CenturyLink and Comcast to let them know they too need to move their lines.

He said he didn't know if the notification happened in this instance.

Stutz said they'll go out early next week to check the new poles and lines and will notify, or re-notify the other utilities.

A Comcast spokeswoman said they're checking with their engineering team and technicians to determine whether they received notification, and will follow up.

A spokeswoman at CenturyLink told Denver7 that she would "talk to the folks in the field and figure out what the situation is," and will then provide updated information.

Tired of waiting

Caton said he's become so exasperated by the long wait, he contacted the city of Englewood.

"I think over the winter, it wasn't the worst thing in the world," he said, "but now that it's spring and summer, I'd like to come out here and start using my back yard.  With my dog out here (and the low wires,) it's pretty dangerous."