Two power poles crashed Wednesday into a dumpster and the Time Inn Motel in Rapid City, knocking out power and causing a small oil spill. 

No one was hurt in the incident, said Mutch Usera, a spokesman for Black Hills Energy. 

"Everything is well-controlled as we see today," he said. 

It's unclear what caused the poles to fall, but it wasn't caused by a vehicle crashing into them or any criminal behavior, said Brendyn Medina, spokesman for the Rapid City police. He said Black Hills Energy will be investigating what caused the incident. 

The towers are made of wooden poles and have metal tubes attached to them. One pole behind the Time Out Lounge was ripped out of the ground and flipped over a dumpster, while the other was leaning at its base and resting against the roof of one of the motel buildings, west of the dumpster.

Usera said it's unclear if one of the towers caused the other to fall and that most power pole crashes are caused by high winds or trees crashing into them. 

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He said the incident happened around 1 p.m. and caused power outages for about 280 clients located near the motel at the corner of N. Lacrosse and E. North streets. Black Hills Energy turned off the towers in the area and rerouted power to the mostly commercial clients within an hour, and workers went to evacuate the building the tower fell on top of but realized it was unoccupied.

As Usera spoke with the media, workers poured a sand-like material on top of an oil spill running from the tower that crashed into a dumpster to the tower that fell on the roof.

The "minor oil spill" happened when one of the transformers at the top the pole began leaking after hitting the dumpster, Usera said. The oil did not leak into anything, and the material poured on top prevents the oil seeping into the ground or spreading further. 

He said it will take several days to take down and replace the fallen poles and possibly ones adjacent to them. 

"Our number one priority is safety," he said.

The owner of the motel was not on site and their phone line is down so it's unclear if the motel and lounge will close until the towers are fixed.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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