No work today: John Dee Warwick workers were stood down yesterday due to equipment damaged by Sunday night’s blackout.
No work today: John Dee Warwick workers were stood down yesterday due to equipment damaged by Sunday night’s blackout.

John Dee staff left in the dark

HUNDREDS of workers at John Dee Abattoir were stood down yesterday while the meatworks tried to repair equipment damaged during Sunday night’s blackout.

John Dee spokesman Warren Stiff said both the morning and evening shift workers were stood down for the day, but would not comment on whether the affected workers would be paid compensation.

“This is a follow-on from the blackout on Sunday night as the electricity spike caused damage to some of our electrical equipment,” Mr Stiff said.

“We are frantically working to fix the problems and hope to be up and running as soon as possible.”

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said one of the two power poles which caught fire about 8.25pm on Sunday night was located on Doy Street, off Wentworth Street, at the back of the factory.

Meanwhile, a quiet night at home nestled behind Warwick Cemetery was shocked into action for a trio of West Warwick residents as a second power pole erupted into flames, helping to plunge almost 4000 households into darkness for four hours on Sunday night.

Ray Harm heard a large bang and saw a power pole in flames at the base of a property behind Warwick Cemetery, causing 3900 homes in Warwick and Thane to be without electricity.

“It was a hell of a noise and a big ball of fire,” Mr Harm said.

“The cemetery’s just there, so the noise won’t worry them.

“One lady’s son (who saw the flames) ran out and tried to put the fire out with a bag.”

Mr Harm has lived at his West Warwick home for 23 years, and rushed barefoot outside to help extinguish the flames.

“THE grass and cobbler’s pegs are dry, and we were worried it would catch quickly, but we were also worried if any live wires had fallen down,” Mr Harm said.

“There’s a group of three houses out here, and when the power goes off we all call each other to make sure we’re OK.”

Mr Harm said he was amazed the power outage gave “stickybeaks” a reason to venture out to find the cause, driving down the quiet lane to his home before emergency services and Ergon Energy arrived at the scene.

“It’s quite tricky to find us here and we called Ergon but all we got was a recorded message (which said) they were aware of a problem,” he said.

Ergon Energy corporate communications manager Rod Rehbein said people should stay on the line if they had additional information about power outages.

“If a pole’s on fire in front of your home, there’s a car accident or a branch is on powerlines, call us and let us know,” Mr Rehbein said.

“Hang on and listen to the recorded message, because the more information we have on cases – especially in remote areas – the speedier we can respond.”

Mr Rehbein said it took Ergon Energy crews about 45 minutes to respond to the Sunday night incident.

“About 3900 Ergon Energy customers in Warwick had their power supply interrupted when a cross-arm supporting 33kV powerlines burnt off and fell into 11kV lines below,” he said.

“The power interruption affected all customers supplied from the West Warwick substation from 8.23pm until crews had replaced the cross-arm at 12.33am.

“Crews reported the cross-arm was in good condition, but Sunday night’s light rain had moistened dust that had accumulated, creating a conducting path for electricity from the insulators to the top of the pole.”

A Queensland Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said Warwick crews were called to two separate incidents where power poles caught fire on Sunday night.



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