A defiant squirrel managed to cause roughly $300K in damages to a new Fort Wayne, Indiana community center that is scheduled to open in June.
The small rodent infiltrated the electrical system of the newly renovated athletics complex at McMillen Park on April 1st, causing a power surge that destroyed three new HVAC systems, and damaged parts of the boiler system. The squirrel did not survive.
Squirrels belong to the family Sciuridae of small or medium-size rodents. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots (including woodchucks), flying squirrels and prairie dogs.
Here Jeff Lebowski has an encounter with an unruly marmot:
The squirrels native to Indiana include the fox squirrel, the American gray squirrel, the red squirrel, the Franklin's ground squirrel, the southern fly squirrel and the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. No word on which type of squirrel caused the power surge. Squirrels instinctively seek warm, dry places to stay, and the McMillen Park electrical array likely appeared to be a good spot to post up for the rodent at the time.
According to Parks Director Al Moll, the damage will be covered by insurance, minus the department’s $50,000 deductible. Parks Department spokesman Steve McDaniel stated that the company that built the HVAC systems is rushing to replace it so the center can open on June 7 .
The structure under renovation was originally McMillen Ice Arena, which closed in 2009. The $1.9 million project is converting the arena into a community center hosting basketball, an indoor track and other activities. Large rooms that once held ice rinks will now house basketball courts and indoor soccer fields. The entire project is estimated to cost roughly $4.5 million.
Image via Wikimedia Commons