New Castle News

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May 15, 2014

Tree blamed for power outage

NEW CASTLE — A storm featuring lightning and thunder rolled through the area Tuesday night, knocking out electrical service to several hundred customers.

A tree in the 1900 block of Highland Avenue, between Hillcrest and Fairmont avenues, fell onto the street around 11 p.m., ripping wires from two houses on the east side of the road.

The tree appeared to have been broken off from a lightning strike. It knocked a power pole askew and injured a squirrel that apparently had been in the tree.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation workers said the squirrel appeared to have a broken leg and they found it shaking and huddled against the base of the tree when they arrived around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Residents throughout the city’s North Hill experienced two short outages during the storms, around 10:30 and 11 p.m.

Chuck Jackson, Penn Power area manager for Lawrence, Mercer and Crawford counties, said the storm resulted in no major outages.

“Maybe 500 to 600 customers were affected at most.” The majority of homes losing electric power were on New Castle’s North Hill, he said.

“Many were affected for only a few minutes.” Some were without electricity from 1 to 5 a.m., he continued, but all power was restored by early afternoon.

Jackson said the power loss was because of a tree limb falling on a transformer. Another area lost power when a car hit a utility pole on Moravia Street Tuesday night. Jackson said he did not know when that accident had occurred.

The fallen tree on Highland Avenue, “took down mostly telephone wires. That looked dramatic but didn’t affect a lot of our customers.”

Outside New Castle, he said, “pockets of one and two customers were affected briefly.

Mike Rooney, New Castle public works director, said the storm, which hit the area about 10 p.m., did not result in any emergency situations.

“We had a lot of branches down, some wires down, but no emergency situations.”

A New Castle Fire Department spokesman said they had received no calls.

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