I should say squirrel, because that is all it took to shut down the city of Tampa, Florida on Friday, February 25. A squirrel crawled down a stand pipe, which is the gray pipe next to the telephone pole. Then, when it apparently got stuck, it tried to turn around and come back out. Still being trapped, the squirrel started to chew through the casing of the cable. Oh no!
Once the squirrel hit the wire it died instantly, but caused a fire that shut down the area, but that's not all. It also knocked out Tampa's main water treatment plant which was located there. No problem; the plant has a back up power line for such emergencies.
Problem! The wind blew the sagging cable line into another power line, causing an arc, which in return sent a massive surge through the system. The surge caused an explosion... and another fire, which shut down the plant. No problem; the plant has a second back up plan to keep the water flowing. Plenty of generators are on hand for such emergencies. Problem! The fire burned out the switch to the generators! Now what? That's it... there is NOT a third back up plan.
A "boil water" notice was promptly issued. Several restaurants had to shut down. People were without water. City officials said that the chances of something like this happening were highly improbable. One official stated, "It really is an act of God, and a series of events that were unlikely."
What a mess! And all of it started by one squirrel! By the next day... things were back to normal.