Lightning strike leads to outages

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

There may have been no hurricanes, but the start of the season was truly nothing short of a whirlwind of events.

For the first time in Troy’s history, its Elm Street substation was struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon, causing power outages to the downtown and north parts of the city for around three hours.

“We’ve never had this happen,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

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“The odds of this happening are unbelievable.”

With the historic outage came 17 separate fire calls, said Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw.

Outlaw said the calls were mostly related to alarms, which did not cause any local damage.

“Normally we have a lot of alarms any time we have power problems,” Outlaw said.

Also for what was likely the first time in Troy’s history, voters in three polling locations cast their voices in the dark.

James Bell, a poll worker for First Baptist Church, said he’s been working for more years than he can remember and has never seen anything like it.

Still, voters at that area didn’t seem too hindered by the weather.

“It was slow to start off, but it picked up right before the rain (and stayed steady),” Bell said.

The Pike County Courthouse, which also lost power, had a different story.

“It was about 32 percent before the power went out,” said Earl Fain, who has been a poll worker for the last three years.

“It’s been real slow.”

Probate Judge Wes Allen said the Academy Street School precinct also lost power in the event.

Lunsford said Alabama Power brought a temporary substation in, which the city will rent for the next few months.

But, Troy will have to likely fork over a half million to million dollars to replace the damaged parts, Lunsford said.