Low hanging wire causes damage to home

June 19, 2009 10:02:06 PM PDT
7 On Your Side has resolved a Bay Area woman's claim against two well known service providers. It's an example of what can happen when a big truck drives under a low hanging wire.

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Sometimes wires that hang too low and the trucks that ride too high underneath them can cause a real problem. The result in this case was some damage to a home and a conflict over who was at fault. That's when 7 On Your Side was called.

Dorothy Pangelinan holds a piece of wood that used to be a part of her roof. So what is it doing in her kitchen? Dorothy came home one day to find it on the sidewalk and damage to her roof.

"I couldn't believe it and thought 'Oh, and it's raining hard,'" said Dorothy.

Dorothy might never have known how it happened if it hadn't been for her home surveillance camera. It recorded everything that day. The video shows a garbage truck picking up her recycle and everything is fine until the truck passes under the Comcast cable that's attached to Dorothy's house.

"As soon as he passed by you see that part of the roof, the facer board, came off," said Dorothy.

The truck hits the cable, snapping it off. At the upper right of the video, you can see the wood flying off with it. Dorothy's neighbor saw it from her kitchen window.

"I saw the wires moving I said 'Oh what's going on?'" said neighbor Ann Duran. "When the truck moved that's when I could see the wires on the lawn."

The video shows the driver backed up after it happened. Ann says a woman driver got out to inspect.

"And then she moved something and then she got in her truck and left," said Duran. "Maybe before she left I thought she would put a note on the door, but she didn't so I got the truck number."

Dorothy's roofer says it will cost $1,700 to repair the damage. Dorothy presented Waste Management her surveillance video and the bill, but Waste Management would pay only half.

"That's not right. You broke it off and now you're going to leave me the alternative for me to spend out of my pocket," said Dorothy. "It's their truck that did it."

So finally Dorothy contacted 7 On Your Side and they called Waste Management. The garbage company said it was not responsible for the damage because the Comcast wire was hanging below the legal minimum of 15 feet above the road. Garbage trucks are only 13 feet high so they should be able to pass underneath easily. The offer to pay half was a gesture of good will.

So we contacted Comcast and it did some measuring. Comcast said "It was unclear at the time of the incident the exact height of the cable. We decided to do the right thing and take care of our share of the costs.'' So, Waste Management paid half and Comcast paid half.

"I feel good, real good, finally something is being done. I will get it fixed as soon as possible," said Dorothy. "I'm glad that 7 On Your Side responded. I'm so happy. Thank you again."

Under California Public Utilities Commission regulations, overhead cables and wires must be at least 15 feet above the road. If you think there's one hanging too low you can report it to the PUC at the link below.

Link:
California Public Utilities Commission: File A Complaint

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