Scaling new heights, troubleshooter saves iguana from power lines

It’s not unusual for Tony Starzyk, Senior Troubleshooter, to respond to calls about animals on power poles. But on Oct. 4, Starzyk was in for a surprise.

Starzyk arrived to find a 4.5-foot iguana named Wizard the Lizard lying across the line. Wizard’s owner, Frank Unquera, understandably distraught under the circumstances, shared with Starzyk that Wizard had gotten loose and found his way up the electric pole.

“I asked the owners to tell me a bit more about him,” Starzyk said. “They said he was a non-biting and friendly type of iguana. Knowing how important he was to his owners, I needed a plan to get him down safely before he was hurt.”

Starzyk went up in his bucket truck to retrieve Wizard. Armed with gloves and steady hands, he reached out to remove the iguana from the wire, but Wizard had other plans.

“Immediately he bolted,” Starzyk said.

Thinking Starzyk was a predator, Wizard fled, moving off the wire and farther up the pole.

Starzyk wasn’t deterred.

“Obviously I needed to change up my plan and learn on the fly,” he said. “I decided to imitate a predator and convince Wizard to scurry down the pole.”

Plan in place, Starzyk boomed farther up in his bucket to Wizard’s now much-higher perch on top of the pole.

“I went to work, placing a canvas bag on top of a pole. When I held it up, it created a shadow from above,” he said.

Once the shadow hit Wizard, he was on the move — this time back down the pole.

“I hit the jackpot,” Starzyk said, “Wizard ran right down the pole and into the safe and protective arms of his owner.”

Wizard’s owner, Unquera, was so impressed with Starzyk that he called in to SRP customer service to tell the story and thank Starzyk for his kindness. He felt Starzyk understood how important pets are and never once made him feel like Wizard wasn’t worth saving. Unquera also wanted to thank Customer Service Representatives Katherine Kramer and Olga Jauregui for ensuring him that help was on the way.

Tiffany Bolton

Tiffany Bolton

Tiffany is a lifelong learner, water nerd and mom. An Arizona transplant, she loves calling the Valley home, even though she kills a garden full of plants each year. When not writing about SRP, she enjoys reading one book each week and driving her minivan.

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