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Semi-truck hits utility line in Arizona, knocking pole into pool full of kids

Five children between the ages of 8 and 16 were inside the pool at the time.
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Posted at 10:55 AM, Jun 19, 2024

A group of children is safe after a scary ordeal involving a downed utility pole and a swimming pool.

In a Tempe, Arizona, neighborhood last week, a semi-truck hit a low-hanging communications cable that brought down several utility poles, one of which fell into a swimming pool full of children.

Five children between the ages of 8 and 16 were able to get out of the pool safely.

Mike Baker told Scripps News Phoenix that the crash sounded like a car came through a wall when the pole snapped and fell, landing on a block wall and into the pool.

“They weren’t power lines that ended up in the pool, they were communications lines,” he said, “I’m not sure if a communication line can electrocute you, but still, it’s the thought of lines falling from the sky into a pool.”

A spokesperson for Cox Communications told Scripps News Phoenix that the lines that fell into the were not electrified.

“We got lucky,” said Baker, “Five kids in a pool, a pole comes down on them, you got to be a little proactive to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

A spokesperson for the Tempe Police Department said the driver of the 18-wheeler stayed on the scene. They said the driver was not cited because there were no moving violations.

“A couple of the kids have been traumatized by this,” said Baker. He explained how the youngest child in the pool does not want to go into his own backyard.

Baker said he and other neighbors have had concerns in their subdivision for low-hanging cables, and old wooden poles that have sat for years in their alleyway.

Baker explained that Salt River Project (SRP) has added new utility poles, but pointed out there are several old ones still there.

A spokesperson for SRP says the pole that fell into the pool is no longer used by SRP but the communications provider still uses it.

The incident left some residents in the area without power for hours.

Scripps News Phoenix reached out to the City of Tempe about concerns from neighbors about the low-hanging cable, and others in the area, however, a spokesperson said there are no codes or ordinances to enforce once a utility pole is up. It is up to that utility company to maintain the cables.

For Baker, he has been trying to get answers.

“It feels like nobody knew who was responsible for that pole, once the new pole was put in after a certain period of time, was SRP supposed to grab it, was Cox supposed to grab it, and then when you call them, it’s like they don’t have a system in place, they don’t have a check sheet to actually work through these kind of issues," Baker said.

This story was originally published by Nicole Grigg at Scripps News Phoenix.