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Monday, May 2, 2016

Calm after the storm

Friday, July 11, 2003

(Photo)
A lumber-strewn Brazil from the air. This photo was taken after Wednesday's storm by Blue Skies Aerial Photography.

About half of Cinergy customers in the Brazil District had electricity restored by 5:30 this morning.

That was better than expected, said manager Rick Burger.

In addition to straight line winds that caused the damage Wednesday, Brazil received 3.31 inches of rain said Doris Scully, Clay County District Conservationist.

Burger said Wednesday night at 8 p.m. that 8,200 of Cinergy's 11,000 Brazil District customers were without power and he hoped that 30 percent of the district's customers would have power this morning. Instead, crews and contractors recruited from all over Indiana worked through the night to turn the lights back on in nearly half of Brazil.

"I don't want to mislead anyone," Burger said. "Some Brazil residents won't have power until sometime Friday due to extensive damage to our equipment."

Cinergy's first priority was to remove trees and limbs from power lines, Berger said. Once that was done, he expected the work would continue rather swiftly.

Burger is also concerned about the safety of residents and electric workers.

"There are lots of lines down," he said. "People need to stay away from the downed lines," he said.

Another safety issue arises from the popularity of portable generators. They must be used safely, he said. One problem that arises is when a resident connects a portable generator to house wiring, not realizing the generator is also feeding the power line. If an electrical worker thinks a line is dead, he may be electrocuted by the power from the resident's portable generator.

Brazil wasn't the only town to be hit by the storm. Center Point and Carbon also had outages, "but Brazil is the hardest hit," Burger said.

Part of the cause of Brazil's outage was damage in the Rosedale area, Burger said. Eight power transmission towers went down in the storm. There were also broken utility poles to deal with, he said.

But Brazil people will think about downed trees -- so many downed trees -- when they remember the storm of July, 2003.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, the blast uprooted trees throughout the city, including a decades-old beauty on the lawn of the courthouse. Forest Park also suffered severe damage, said Mayor Kenny Crabb.

A very large, old tree next to the pavillion fell in the storm, but according to information given the mayor, the building was not damaged.

He planned to tour the park today to see the devastation firsthand.

Many volunteers were appreciated, the mayor said.

The Indiana National Guard, Pike Lumber Co. and other volunteers offered to help clear city streets. Pike Lumber Co. was sending a logging crew, Crabb said.

Tree-clogged streets will cause a delay in trash pickup, the mayor said. Thursday's trash schedule will be moved to Friday.

Trees and limbs across power lines made a normally quick trip home after work daunting, to say the least.

One man, driving down South Murphy Avenue said he had spent two hours trying to get home and was repeatedly turned back on tree-blocked streets.

Firefighters rescued two women who were trapped in the Razor's hair styling salon, said Manager Jennifer Lumsford. A tree fell across the only door of the building and the women were taken out through a window, firefighters said.

Meanwhile three city police reserve officers, three full-time officers and Chief of Police Terry Harrison stayed busy directing traffic, answering services calls and protecting residents from power wires torn down in the storm.

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In summary:

- Brazil received 3.31" of rain Thursday

- Thursday's trash schedule has been moved to Friday

- About half of Cinergy's Brazil customers were still without power this morning

- Some Brazil customers won't have electricity until Friday

- Downed power lines should always be treated as if they were live, cautions Rick Burger, Cinergy District Manager

- Wabash Valley Red Cross is serving meals today at various locations in the city. It will offer food and lodging tonight at the Northview High School cafeteria, said Gerry Husband, Clay County Emergency Management director.



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