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Ameren: Thieves, Vicious Dogs Hamper Restoration Work

Brett Blume
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Ameren work crews continue to clean up debris and repair power lines that were damaged in Friday night's storms. A giant tree toppled down onto this home just off Florissant Rd. in Ferguson. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

Ameren work crews continue to clean up debris and repair power lines that were damaged in Friday night’s storms. A giant tree toppled down onto this home just off Florissant Rd. in Ferguson. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) –  In addition to downed power lines and massive uprooted trees, Ameren Missouri crews are encountering another problem as they work to restore power to victims of Friday night’s storms — angry dogs.

Brian Ott, Ameren Missouri’s senior safety supervisor, said they’ve already had one employee injured in a dog attack, though not seriously.

“We’re worried about the safety and welfare of our employees and them getting home at the end of each day, back to their families,” Ott told KMOX News Tuesday while watching crews work in an especially hard-hit area near New Florissant Rd. and January Ave.

Ott said residents can help ensure that their power gets turned back on as soon as possible.

“They could assist us in that if they have to leave, put the dog away so that we have access to the poles,” Ott explained. “As you can see in some of these back yards the poles are hard to get to — a lot of brush and everything else — and the dogs make it really difficult.”

Then there’s the other problem Ameren work crews are running into, according to Ott.

He said as employees are sitting high atop power poles or searching for downed electrical lines, people are actually stealing supplies right out of the back of their trucks.

“And that’s not helping us restore the service when we lose the things that we need to get service back on,” Ott pointed out.

They’ve had thefts from trucks mainly in the Berkeley area.

He said it appears that thieves are mostly after items that contain expensive copper, along with some tools.

Why not simply lock up the trucks while workers are otherwise occupied?

“We keep material on the back of the trucks that we can get to fairly quickly, take it, get it in the back yard,” Ott said. “And they’re coming while we’re in the back yard and taking the stuff off the back of the trucks.”

However he was quick to point out that this only applies to a very small percentage of the people they’re trying to help, calling the vast majority of residents in areas where Ameren crews are working “great people”.

Downed tree limbs and giant, uprooted trees continue to litter much of the Berkeley, Ferguson area in the wake of Friday's tornado. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

Downed tree limbs and giant, uprooted trees continue to litter much of the Berkeley, Ferguson area in the wake of Friday’s tornado. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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