Storms leave trail of damage, outages across Indiana County
June 26, 2013 11:00 AM
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Strong storms that pushed through the area Tuesday night and early this morning caused downed trees and caused widespread power outages while firefighters scrambled to handle a deluge of calls.

At one point Tuesday evening, more than 4,200 customers in Indiana County and 250 in Cambria County were without power, REA Energy reported.

Chad Carrick, business development manager for REA, said crews were working to restore power.

Any customer who has an outage is asked to call (800) 332-7273 or (724) 463-7273.

More than 1,550 Penelec customers were without power during the worst of the storm last night; however, electricity had been restored to all but 146 customers by 9:45 this morning, according to Denny Platt, external affairs manager for Penelec.

“We are working on all the outages,” he said. “We have brought in a special crew to work on multiple spans of wire down in the Penn Run, Cherryhill Township area. We have between 20 and 26 spans down, so it’s going to take a while to rebuild.”

Indiana volunteer firefighters were kept busy clearing trees and inspecting downed utility lines after storms packing windswept rains and vivid lightning overspread the county. Indiana Fire Chief Chuck Kelly said no injuries or property damage were reported during the storm.

“We had 15 to 20 calls in a period of about an hour, for calls about trees down, wires down, debris on roadways,” Kelly said.

Response required teamwork between firefighters, street department workers and utility crews.

“On North 11th Street, a large tree took an electric line down and we had to wait for the electric company before we could cut the tree up,” Kelly said. “And on the 1000 block of Church Street, a tree fell and was blocking the road and the borough street crew cut it apart.”

He said Center Township road workers blocked Sexton Road while a fallen tree was cleared.

Some trees fell close to or leaned on buildings, but caused no damage, Kelly said.

“It was one thing after the other.”

According to county emergency management logs, utility lines and trees were reported down on School Street in Indiana Borough and along Sexton Road in White Township at 7:49 p.m. Tuesday. At 7:50 p.m., Indiana firefighters were sent to clear a tree that fell into a structure along Wayne Avenue in Indiana Borough; and six minutes later, a tree was reported down along Chestnut Street in Indiana Borough. This morning, shortly after 5 a.m., Company 1 was dispatched to a tree across a utility line along Lowman Road in White Township.

Indiana’s Company 4 was dispatched shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday to assist Homer City and Coral-Graceton volunteer firefighters in putting out a blaze in a structure along Innovation Drive in Center Township. It was not known at press time whether the fire was related to the weather, and additional details were not available.

Among other calls handled by emergency responders were:

• Trees down on Castle Road in Center Township at 7:49 p.m. Tuesday. Homer City firefighters were dispatched.

• Cherryhill firefighters were dispatched to Allen Bridge Road, in Cherryhill Township, for downed trees and utility lines at 7:49 p.m. Tuesday, and to Overman Road, also in Cherryhill Township, at 7:51 p.m. for a downed utility line.

• Glen Campbell firefighters cleared a tree along Gipsy Road in Montgomery Township at 7:52 p.m.

• Clymer volunteer firefighters were dispatched to Rich Hill Road, in Cherryhill Township, for downed utility lines at 7:53 p.m. Tuesday; to Cherryhill Township for utility lines down along Route 553 at 7:53; and to Clymer Road in Cherryhill Township for a tree down at 7:54.

• Pine Township firefighters were dispatched at 7:55 p.m. and 9:21 Tuesday to Route 422 for downed trees and utility lines; and were called to assist Commodore, Cherryhill and Cambria firefighters at a structure fire along Kinter Station Road in Pine Township at 7:57 p.m.

• At 7:59 p.m. Tuesday, Iselin firefighters were dispatched to West Lebanon Road and Park Drive, both in Young Township for trees down; and at 8:13 p.m., to Hancock Road in Young Township for a tree down. They were called out a fourth time shortly after midnight to Iselin Road in Young Township for a tree into a power line along the roadway .

• Creekside firefighters were dispatched to Chambersville Road in Rayne Township for a downed tree at 7:59 p.m.

• Glen Campbell firefighters were dispatched for a tree down along Rock Run Road in Montgomery Township at 7:59 p.m.

• Coal Run firefighters were sent to inspect utility lines down along Route 286 in Young Township shortly after 8 p.m.

• Saltsburg firefighters were dispatched for downed utility lines along Nowrytown Road in Conemaugh Township at 8:10 p.m. and to Salt Street in Saltsburg Borough for a tree down into a structure shortly before 9 p.m.

• The Tunnelton fire department was dispatched to Treece Road in Conemaugh Township at 8:57 p.m. for trees down.

• At 6:22 a.m. today, Blairsville firefighters were called for a pumping detail along South East Lane in Blairsville Borough.

• Vintondale firefighters were called out at 6:36 a.m. today for a tree across power lines along Route 403 in Buffington Township.

PHOTO: A large tree leaned on the house at 731 Wayne Ave. in Indiana, following a storm that moved through the area Tuesday evening. Tom Peel/Gazette

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