MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Christopher Mallard said every day he and his wife take time to relax outside of their home in Miami Gardens. It has been difficult to do that when they are forced to stare at a safety hazard that they feel powerless over.
Hurricane season makes the gaping holes in a rotting utility power pole all the more dangerous. His wife, Lynda Mallard, said she is very concerned.
“It is really frightening and scary,” Lynda Mallard said.
They were able to empathize with the residents of Fort Lauderdale’s Citrus Isles. They watched a video in horror that showed how one of the poles nearly injured a woman who was walking her dogs.
Christopher Mallard said he understands their predicament. AT&T also owns the neglected utility pole in Miami Gardens. He fears the transformer has the potential of coming down on the trees below.
“The first thing I see is fire,” Christopher Mallard said.
There are power, cable, phone and internet lines on it as well. In fact, when their cable service went out, a Comcast technician refused to access the lines.
“He told me it was a hazard. That he couldn’t climb the pole. He wouldn’t dare get on the pole because it is hollow,” Christopher Mallard said.
The utility pole has a 4-inch deep crack right down the middle. The Mallards met with three AT&T representatives months ago. They saw them take pictures of the utility pole.
“Nothing happened,” Lynda Mallard said. “I tried, it was before hurricane season back in February, to try to get this thing solved. Evidently, they don’t care ... they need to get someone out here to get this thing done. This is not safe at all.”
Hurricane season starts on Tuesday.
There was some progress for Citrus Isles residents on Thursday. Fort Lauderdale officials met with AT&T to discuss the problem. AT&T told officials they will assess and replace the poles.
In Florida, AT&T owns 213,210 utility poles and FPL owns 425,700. A bill passed by the State legislature, but not signed into law yet, would allow the Florida Public Service Commission to require utility pole inspections and order repair and replacement.
Local 10 News has a pending inquiry with Rep. Frederica Wilson, who represents the district where the Mallard family lives, to see if she can help.
AT&T released this statement:
We are working to replace the damaged utility pole in Miami Gardens as quickly as possible. Our equipment is on both our own poles and poles owned by other utility companies.
We inspect thousands of poles each year and replace or repair those that we, or other utilities, determine to be unsafe. Additional Utility pole damage can be reported at 1-800-288-2020.
PART 1: Fort Lauderdale residents fear safety hazard could turn into hurricane season nightmare