updated 5/12/2009 4:38:44 PM ET 2009-05-12T20:38:44

Missouri legislators spent about an hour in the dark Tuesday because of a power outage at the state Capitol — and a snake took all the blame and paid the price.

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The electricity went out at noon while lawmakers were debating legislation and scores of schoolchildren were touring the building.

Several people were stuck in elevators, but Capitol Police Chief Todd Hurt said they all were freed within 20 minutes and no injuries were reported.

Power was back on after about an hour.

The problem was a reptile that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

AmerenUE spokeswoman Susan Gallagher said the black snake got into underground electrical cables near the Capitol and shorted out two cables.

The snake was electrocuted.

The blackout also affected the Governor's Mansion and other downtown buildings.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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