Balloons left at cemetery believed to be cause of power outages in Spanish Fork

Posted at 9:41 PM, Feb 16, 2018

SPANISH FORK - In his three or four years as Assistant City Manager, Tyler Jacobson says he’s never seen anything like it. And now, he’s seen it twice.

Nearly half of the entire town of Spanish Fork lost power not once, but twice in the past five weeks because of a bizarre set of circumstances.

“I didn’t believe it at first until I heard it from a reputable source,” Jacobson said.

What he heard was that a mylar balloon had gotten tangled in the power lines, answering the age old question that we’ve probably all thought at one point, “What happens to all those balloons we let go of?”

Both times the balloons knocked out power for only an hour or so, but during those periods of time, residents jumped on Facebook immediately to complain.

“You would have thought it was Armageddon,” joked David Doerr, who lost power both at work and at his home.

The city believes the balloons broke free from tombstones in the cemetery, and, because of the cold weather, hovered not far off the ground before colliding with the power lines.

“There’s a song that came out called ‘Hold on,’” Jacobson said. "And that’s what we would encourage our residents to do."

On a more serious note, Jacobson had some interesting questions for the city engineer.

“I asked the electric department if someone could really take down an entire city with mylar balloons strategically placed around town? And the answer is no because we have redundancy things in place," he said.

Jacobson said that the power would only stay out for about an hour before backup electricity could be rerouted from other places to kick in.