Emergency crews and Avista created a mock accident scene Wednesday in order to better prepare for dangerous copper theft scenarios.
Copper theft is a growing problem all over the U.S., including Spokane County. Thieves looking for a quick payout will hit up power lines and transformers for the valuable metal.
The training exercise started with a 911 call, with only crew leaders aware that it was for training.
Firefighters and paramedics were first on the scene. Avista, right behind them, thought the person in danger might be one of their own.
"We treat it very seriously cause normally its a pole partner. Fortunately today it was just somebody stealing wire. So we try to get it safed up so we can respond safely so nobody else gets hurt," said Paul Gifford, an Avista Journeyman Lineman.
The scene was a bit of a mess. One copper thief was tangled in live electric wire, another with his arm stuck down below, and a third was belligerent, fighting with officials the entire time.
"It is an extreme scenario, but we actually have an extreme problem at this point in time with copper theft," said Fire District 9 Deputy Chief Kevin Von Steuben.