Fire Chief Commends DPU Linemen For Quick Action On West Road Fire

Los Alamos County Department of Public Utilities Electricity Distribution Division lineman Julian Suazo, left, and Wayne Valdez discovered a loose connection that caused a small fire Thursday, made the area safe for firefighters and repaired the connection. Photo by Maire O’Neill/
Scene Thursday afternoon of firefighters responding to small fire in LA Canyon near the Ice Rink. Photo by Maire O’Neill/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes has commended two local linemen for their quick response to a small fire April 12 close to the Los Alamos County Ice Rink on West Road.

Julian Suazo and Wayne Valdez of the Department of Public Utilities Electricity Distribution Division observed something peculiar happening with the power lines and went to investigate. DPU officials believe an electrical connection on a power pole came loose and the resulting arcing caused molten metal to fall to the ground, which ignited the small fire.

When Suazo and Valdez arrived at the ice rink, someone told them that there was a fire and shortly thereafter a Los Alamos Police Department officer arrived and was asked by the two men to notify Los Alamos Fire Department to wait until they shut off the power to the area.

Suazo and Valdez proceeded tto the fuse cut-outs box on Trinity Drive and terminated power to the area. LAPD controlled access to West Road throughout the duration of the fire, which was quickly extinguished by LAFD personnel and it remained closed until the electrical problem was addressed.

“Great work by these two DPU linemen,” Chief Hughes said. “Without their quick action and notification to LAFD, this could have become a large, out-of-control fire.” 

He said anyone who observes a fire should call 911 immediately to report it, even if they think someone else might have called it in. 

“Especially with the windy conditions we are experiencing, the faster a fire is reported the better,” Chief Hughes said.

A loose connection on a powerpole near the Los Alamos Ice Rink on West Road caused a small fire Thursday afternoon, which was quickly extinguished by Department personnel. Courtesy photo

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