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Voice: Haystacks, power lines: bad fit

November 05, 2001

As someone who has worked loading hay in the Imperial Valley since 1971, I have observed some changes in farming and business practices that contribute to more losses once an arsonist starts a haystack fire.

First, the distance between haystacks is now less than it used to be. Those who insure haystacks require more distance. It is ignored.

Second, Imperial County and Imperial Irrigation District allow haystacks to be located under or near high-voltage lines. Consequently, when haystacks burn, damage to IID electric lines and poles occurs and service is disrupted to IID customers.

I have written to IID concerning the policy of allowing hay to be stacked under high-voltage lines because it is dangerous for those of us who load hay. In 1973, my brother, Tom, made the fatal mistake of working too close to IID high-voltage lines over a haystack and it killed him and the truck driver who was working with him. Currently, I have never seen so many haystacks under high-voltage wires and the number increases every year.

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To me, it is criminal to know it is a dangerous to life and property yet allow the practice of stacking hay under high- voltage wires not only to continue but to increase.

JOHN L. DANTICE

El Centro

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