Storm downs trees, cuts power

By Keith Strange

June 17, 2014

In what is often a sign of the season, Tuesday’s hot weather spurred afternoon thunderstorms that kept emergency crews hopping for a little while.

According to county Emergency Services Director John Shelton, the storm sparked a transformer fire shortly after 3 p.m. at the intersection of Worth Street and Andy Griffith Parkway.

Shelton said that while it was unclear what officially started the fire, he speculated that the electrical storm played a role.

“It was probably a lightning strike,” he said.

The fire cut power to numerous businesses along Andy Griffith Parkway and Rockford Street, and an employee confirmed that Northern Hospital of Surry County was running on generator power.

In addition to the transformer fire, Shelton reported that crews were working a downed tree on Riverside Drive that cut power on Kyle Street.

Chief Zane Poindexter of the Mount Airy Fire Department called the results of the downed tree “a real mess.”

“We ended up getting hit with a bunch of things at once, but most of the damage revolved around the downed tree on Riverside,” he said.

According to the chief, the tree knocked down a power pole, cutting cable television, phone service and power to residents of Kyle Street.

“We have several homes where it’s pulled the power connection off the homes themselves,” he said.

There were no reports of injuries as a result of the storm.

Shelton said that while not unexpected, the quick-moving storm got crews moving.

“We had a little bit of action,” he said.

According to Duke Energy, 2,056 customers lost power as a result of the storm, many of them along Andy Griffith Parkway and Franklin Street. The company was estimating that power would be restored by 6 p.m.

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.