FAIRBANKS — A New Year’s tradition has left residents in one Interior Alaska community off the grid.
The traditional way to ring in the new year is to shoot off guns at midnight on Jan. 1 in the community of Tanana, located about 150 miles west of Fairbanks.
But this year, one or more revelers with .410-gauge shotguns shot out one of the town’s main fiber-optic cable lines used for both Internet and TV. A handful of customers lost service as a result. The cable was strung about 20 feet high, and had more than a dozen pellet holes in it, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Friday.
Ralph Eller, who owns Yukon Telephone and Supervisions Cable TV, said it’s not clear if someone intentionally shot the cable or it if was an accident.
Either way, he said, “You can’t fix stupid.”
Eller said he’s waiting for parts to be delivered before he can get the damaged cable fixed. Repair costs are estimated to be $10,000 because the fiber-optic line will have to be spliced together. That work will take at least two days after the parts arrive.
About a dozen recovered shotgun shells have been turned over to Alaska State Troopers.
Eller said troopers told him it would be difficult to prove who did it unless witnesses come forward. He said so far, no one has fessed up.
Tanana, located near the confluence of the Tanana and Yukon rivers, is home to about 250 residents.