Windstorm blows down powerlines, poles


NEWFANE -- Just to the side of the NewBrook firehouse, four utility poles collapsed, which resulted in a section of Route 30 being closed all of Monday night, into late Tuesday morning.

When the incident initially happened, a school bus going from Leland and Gray to the NewBrook Elementary School was nearly hit by the falling utility poles. Its driver turned around, taking a detour through River Road.

"It was a bad time of day," said NewBrook Volunteer Fire Department Chief Todd Lawley. "We had all of the people coming home from work."

He told the Reformer that four utility poles snapped, which may have been caused by wind shear. Attached wires were disconnected and brought down to the ground.

From about 5 p.m. on Oct. 7 until the following day at approximately 11:30 a.m., the road in front of the NewBrook Fire Department Station had been closed. Since then, the utility poles were put back up.

"Everyone got power back," said Lawley. "The power's restored and the power company is just finishing up putting up wires. We're good to go I think."

One of the members of the fire department told Lawley that he saw the utility poles snap in front of him. Immediately, Vermont Emergency Management was notified of the incident.

"It's not good," said Lawley, nearly two hours after the poles snapped.

An observer believed that a tree had been knocked down by the wind, taking the utility poles with it.

Throughout the night, the Newfane Highway Department was out checking roads. There wasn't much damage other than the utility poles and Lawley told the Reformer he thought it was a very localized event.

The NewBrook Fire Department ran generators to keep the firehouse operational. Members directed traffic on Route 30 in locations such as the Flea Market as well as the NewBrook Elementary School. From those two locations, vehicles were directed to River Road, which would then re-route drivers back to Route 30 or to other roads in Newfane.

Local radio stations were notified so the news of the fallen poles could be broadcast to concerned residents without power.

Vermont State Police and Green Mountain Power assisted at the scene, along with the Civilian Emergency Response Team, which had volunteers with radios helping with traffic and other tasks.

The Associated Press reported that at least 80 communities across Vermont experienced power outages and about 8,000 electric customers were without power.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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