Squirrel knocks out power to parts of Downtown Roanoke

Published: Nov. 26, 2018 at 4:50 PM EST
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It wasn't Monday's windy weather, but a squirrel that knocked out power for most of downtown Roanoke, impacting businesses.

Valarie Angel's morning took an unexpected turn.

"The power outage was a big surprise for us this morning, we expected to come in and be pretty busy for Cyber Monday, and we do fulfill online orders through the store so we anticipated that, so that put us back a little bit," said Angel, Manager of Ladles and Linens Kitchen Shoppe.

Her shop was able to stay open using emergency lights and cash sales, but the downtown restaurants weren't as fortunate.

"Well right now we're closed, so that isn't fun. We're basically just having to wait around, waiting on staff who don't know what to do, if we should send them home or stay because we want to get open and serve you guys," Richard Barrar, Regional Manager of Cabo Fish Taco, said.

But it didn't stay closed for long.

"I think it was pretty confusing at first, and, oh! Power just came back!" Barrar said the moment the power turned back on at around 11:30 a.m.

Cars no longer had to drive through non-working traffic lights, and people could again safely cross the street.

It was all because of a squirrel. A squirrel got into the 7th street substation and tripped a circuit breaker, causing the power outage.

Angel laughed and said, "I felt so sad for the squirrel! But you know, those things happen, that's just part of life, and nature, so, you know, it is what it is and we just keep on rolling."

"Everyone's kind of laughing that a squirrel took out all of downtown's power grid," Barrar added.

Once power came back on, restaurant staff had to start cooking and it took some time until they could open up shop.

Victoria Myers, Manager of Awful Arthur's, said, "I mean we're just trying to catch up right now, it was kind of crazy."