A utility company is asking the public to help identify the person who shot down a major power line, causing a fire near Hoodsport, Mason County

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A utility company is asking the public to help identify the person who shot down a major power line, causing a fire near Hoodsport, Mason County.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it threatened local homes, said Doug Johnson, spokesman for Bonneville Power Administration.

Another line was also damaged by firearms. The utility estimates repairs will cost more than $50,000.

“Obviously it was done intentionally,” Johnson said, calling the shooting an act of sabotage. It takes multiple shots to bring down a 230-kilovolt line, he said.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

The utility is working with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office as well as federal law enforcement, said Pete Jeter, the utility’s director of security, in a news release. He said deliberately shooting the power lines is a federal offense because the lines are considered Homeland Security infrastructure.

Although the downed power line did not lead to outages, a live wire on the ground is extremely dangerous, Johnson said.

“It’s a pretty scary deal when that happens,” he said. “This one was pretty bad.”

He said the utility had to take several lines out of service to be worked on — something that weakens the system and could lead to overloading other lines.

The BPA markets more than one-third of the Pacific Northwest’s electricity.

“We could have outages all up and down the West Coast,” he said.

People with information are asked to call the utility’s witness hotline at 800-437-2744. Calls are confidential.

Noelene Clark: 206-464-2321 or nclark@seattletimes.com