On Sept 15th, 2017 (after Hurricane Irma) a few people messaged me telling me about a post that Tony Zimmerman had shared about his cattle being electrocuted as a result of the power being restored by the City of Wauchula. Soon after it was all over. I saw others were investigating it so at the time I backed off. However, after reviewing the facts and a few videos of the City Commission meeting where Zimmerman confronted the Commission about it I decided to give my 2 cents.
Zimmerman has stated that prior to the power being restored he had called the City twice telling them NOT to turn the power back on to his area because there were poles and lines down in his pasture where his cattle were present. Unfortunately, the power was restored and the downed lines electrocuted and killed some of his cattle.
During the Commission meetings, Zimmerman and Kulhman had asked what the status was or if there was an Investigation as to how this incident happened. Watching the video it’s embarrassing that the Mayor of Wauchula had nothing to say but turned to Mr. Atchley. Mr. Atchley stated there is “No Investigation” in the incident that involved the death of livestock. When asked why not the City Managers response was “because what is there to be investigated?” and stated that the lines were now repaired and power was restored. Mr. Kullman continued to explain that obviously there were procedures that were not followed and that this incident could have happened anywhere and lives could have been lost. All of a sudden, Commission Keneth Lambert cuts him off, tells him “You’re Done“. Seriously Lambert? I’m appalled as to how Commission has reacted.
This is where I have a problem. What if this line was on a home, or in a populated area and “What If” human lives were lost instead of cattle? Would City Commission and the City Manager act like this? Seems to me the Commission didn’t want to hear the truth.
Not many people are probably familiar with the location of this incident so I’ll explain. The Zimmerman property borders the Wauchula Airport on the east side. The primary powerlines that feed the airport come off of Alton Carlton Rd and run west through the orange grove. Just before reaching the airport property the line goes underground and crosses under a ditch and up on the airport side. This line remains underground and continues north along the east side of the airport to the Zimmerman property. It then goes back east under the ditch and about 200 ft into the Zimmerman property it is brought back to an overhead line and continues to 2 more poles. See images below.
Now, it’s common knowledge in the electrical utility business that anytime there is damage to the grid, ALL circuits must be inspected. This means a ground crew actually rides the system and inspects the circuits for damage before it’s heated up, any lineman can tell you that. So what happened here? Was it lack of knowledge of the City Line crew? or was it because of lack of knowledge from outside help? Either way, a representative from the City Electrical Dept should have been onsite and inspected the lines. Another question is, did the current line crew even realize there were additional overhead lines that fed off of the underground line at the airport? Zimmerman’s property is secluded. But wait, Zimmerman called twice in advance to notify the City that he had lines down……
Obviously, procedures weren’t followed and an unfortunate accident happened. At this point, the City should have investigated to find out exactly what happened and why it happened. But according to the City Manager Terry Atchley, there is nothing to Investigate. But no worries, as the City Manager stated, the insurance is taking care of it. It’s just cows, no need to investigate.
City Commission, this incident SHOULD be investigated. Maybe you should create a Policy and Procedure for Storm-related damage to the electrical grid so future incidents won’t happen. Maybe you should show concern in Commission meetings and at least act like you care about this community instead of cutting them off when valid points are being made.
Like previously stated, what would you have said if a human life were lost instead of cattle? #CowLivesMatter
If you agree that this incident SHOULD be investigated, Email the Commissioners and let them know.
District Seat 1 Neda Cobb email@example.com
District Seat 2 Russel Graylin Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
District Seat 3 Keith Nadasky email@example.com
District Seat 4 Kenneth Lambert firstname.lastname@example.org
District Seat 5 Gary Smith email@example.com