110 foot tree takes out transformer, power and cable lines

Friday, November 28, 2014

Roots stick into the air from the remains
of a 110 foot tree that came down
Wednesday morning and took out power lines.
Photo by Carl Dinse
Correction: neighbors chose to stay out of their homes until the situation seemed more stable.

78 households in the Northridge neighborhood in NE Shoreline were without power from 12:30am Wednesday morning until about 10am Wednesday after a 110 foot tree uprooted itself, knocked down a transformer and stripped lines from three poles. The street was blocked during the night and neighbors closest to the fall chose to stay out of their houses for several hours until the situation stabilized.

According to one neighbor, "We, the neighbors, all huddled in 'safe' spots outside between midnight and 4:00am Wednesday morning, getting to know each other better in the dark."

The transformer exploded when it hit the street, strobing sparks and flames and flooding the street with oil. Power lines and cable lines were strewn across yards and streets.

City Light crews were on the scene within minutes. A crew spent several hours cutting up the fallen tree, then the rest of the night dealing with replacing poles, transformer, and restringing wires. Neighbors report there were a dozen vehicles and two dozen men working 16 hours straight.

Department of Ecology personnel dealt with the spilled oil.

When all was done and power restored, Comcast crews moved in and spent 4-5 hours restringing cable lines on the street and to nearby homes.

Neighbors closest to the transformer fall heard the tree going down and the explosion, but those even a few houses away heard only a "whooosh and a kind of pop" as all the power went off.


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