By TIM ROWDEN
When a fire in a manhole caused 2,100 downtown St. Louis customers to recently lose power on one of the hottest days of the year, people weren’t the only ones affected. About 130 dogs at the offices of Stray Rescue animal shelter at 2320 Pine St. found themselves in dire straights as the temperature inside the building started to rise.
As staff and volunteers scrambled to find foster homes for the dogs, Nancy Fedke, a volunteer and the wife of IBEW Local 1 journeyman electrician Fritz Fredke, called Local 1 to see if they could help.
Local 1 Business Representative Dave Roth reached out to the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), which agreed to cover the costs of a generator and installation by Sachs Electric Co.
“We immediately sent Business Representative John Kahroff down here assess the situation and to see how we could help,” Roth said. “We thought we needed to donate our help because the dogs were in jeopardy.”
Crews from Ameren Missouri were able to restore the power by early afternoon before the generator could be installed but IBEW Local 1 and Sachs agreed to remain on standby so the generator could be brought back from a storage yard should the electricity go out again, which sometimes happens after a major outage.
The Electrical Connection agreed to pay for it all in an example of the good unions and their signatory contractors do for their communities.
“Our biggest need was getting the dogs safe because of the risk of heat exhaustion in the back,” said Stray Rescue Director of Development Cate Redfern. “The Electrical Connection was one of the first to help when we tried to get the power back on. It really gave us a feeling of comfort, if the power were to go back out, to know the dogs will be safe.
“The fact that they were able to respond on such short notice and make sure the dogs were safe and that we didn’t lose any dogs was just amazing. We really appreciate that.”