Star Tribune: Raccoon Causes Blackout in Minnesota - School Cancelled

Errant raccoon knocks out power in 5 S.E. Minn. towns

A raccoon that snuck into an electrical substation was blamed for an expensive power failure that struck several towns near Rochester, Minn., Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

Lewiston, Stockton, Utica, Wyattville, Altura and rural areas in between lost electricity to varying degrees starting about 9 p.m. Monday, said Lewiston Fire Chief Charlie Matzke and a utility spokesman.

School was called off in the Lewiston-Altura District, the chief said.

The cost to repair the Lewiston substation will be about $750,000, said Ryan Stensland, of Interstate Power and Light, who added the failure affected more than 1,500 customers.

Stensland said the raccoon "was live when [workers] got there, but they had to destroy it," because it became stuck.

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