A colony of beavers gnawed through a fiber optic cable near their dam over the weekend, disrupting internet service for hundreds of residents in Western Canada
Officials in the District of Tumbler Ridge said the area suffered “a sudden and unexpected” outage at about 4 a.m. on Saturday morning, according to a statement on the town’s website.
Tumbler Ridge is a municipality of about 2,000 people that is close to 4-and-a-half hours northeast of Prince George, British Columbia, and is home to a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Workers with the Telus telecommunications company discovered a beaver dam near the buried cable that supplies the community, according to the statement.
“This was certainly a very rare and uniquely Canadian disruption,” Telus spokeswoman Liz Sauvé said in an email to CNN.
The cable was buried about three feet underground and enclosed in a 4.5-inch thick conduit for protection, but that didn’t stop the beavers, who chewed through the conduit and then the cable in several locations, according to a statement from Telus.
The beavers used some of the material they dug up – including bright red fiber marking tape – in the construction of their dam, the company said.
The breaks also knocked out TV service to about 60 customers and cellular phone coverage was also spotty in the area, Telus said.
It took about 36 hours to fix the problem and crews had to dig through partially frozen ground to reach the breaks, the company said. Service was restored on Sunday afternoon.
The outage was an inconvenience for residents, but town officials said emergency services, including police, fire, ambulance and emergency room services were all operational, the Tumbler Ridge statement said.