SHERIDAN — As the lights in Sheridan went black, the buzz of downtown continued to hum. Without traffic lights, drivers navigated utilizing polite finger waves, but the Sheridan Police Department received numerous calls about accidents related to the power outage.
Shops opened their doors to let light in. Many local businesses tried to push their way through the power outage and continue to provide service for customers.
The countywide power outage started around 12:15 p.m. and lasted approximately 40 minutes. It was caused by a bull snake slithering into a Montana-Dakota Utilities substation insulator, tripping the main transformer.
Restaurants throughout town tried their best to continue to serve even with a lack of resources as customers continued to dine in. Olivia Castaneda, manager at Midtown Cafe, said they were able to continue service.
“It’s really hard,” Castaneda said. “We depend on the power but we have been able to continue to cook because we have gas. But we can’t do any drinks because our blenders and coffee presses are down and that’s what we’re known for.”
But even with gas stoves, cafes and restaurants resorted to only serving salads so they could keep the fridges closed out of fear of losing their produce to the heat. Servers across town also felt the frustration of having to process orders manually.
“I didn’t realize how much I relied on the computer for math,” Frackelton’s Fine Food and Spirits server Jessie Pattison said.
Other businesses weren’t so lucky.
Every bank downtown locked up immediately when power was lost. Hospital Pharmacy on Main Street shut down with a note on the door that had “Power Outage” scribbled on it.
Heather Raider, financial coordinator at Grinnell Street Dental, felt the pressure of not being able to provide service when the power went out while customers were waiting in the dentist chair.
“It affects our business completely; everything runs by power,” Raider said. “We’ll probably have to reschedule the majority of our patients for the day unfortunately.”
T’Leye Legerski, a nail tech at Tangles, struggled for the duration without power.
“Without power, I don’t get paid,” Legerski said. “I made it through; I polished my client’s toenails with a flashlight.”
Employees at Visionary Broadband were dreading the pile-up of work that would follow the lack of power.
They had countless phone calls and customers that needed assistance throughout the day that created a heavy load for everyone on the payroll. Keli Garcia, a customer service representative was thankful that they only went without power for a short period of time.
“A full day of no power would be detrimental to us,” Garcia said. “We can’t do anything without power, and it affects towers in other towns.”
Power was restored to most of Sheridan just before 1 p.m. Tuesday.