'Large raccoon' knocks out power to 9,600 in New Mexico

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  Dec. 15, 2017 at 11:55 AM
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Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A New Mexico utility company said more than 9,600 customers lost power when a "large raccoon" caused a transformer to explode.

PNM said about 9,638 customers in Rio Rancho and parts of Corrales lost power Wednesday night when a transformer exploded spectacularly in Rio Rancho.

"It was like an earthquake or something, it cracked the house literally cracked," Patricia Gomez, who lives next to the transformer, told KOB-TV.

"It looked like a UFO was landing the way the lights were flashing and sparking, and the light's rays coming up from the ground," neighbor Mark said. "It was crazy lookin'."

Officials said they found the cause of the blast.

"A large raccoon wandered in, probably looking for a warm place to bed-down for the night and came with the transformer," PNM spokesman Dan Ware said.

Ware said the transformer is shielded with a wall and a fence, but the raccoon managed to circumvent the security measures.

"This is just one of those rare occurrences," he said. "But again, when all is said and done, we'll take a look at best practices and see if something could be different."

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