Storms wreak havoc on trees, electric lines and service

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- For Mark Jann and Samantha Hogan, who work for Dayton, Ohio-based Nelson Tree Service, Monday's late morning storm here simply meant more work.
The company is a subcontractor for the City of Niles Public Works Department and helps the city trim and remove trees when needed.
Storms left thousands of homes in the Michiana area without electricity for extended periods of time this past weekend.
After Monday's storm had passed, Jann, the company's manager, used a chain saw to cut in two a large branch that blocked the road on the corner of 12th and Regent streets in Niles.
But damages resulting from the storm were not as severe as they might have appeared.
Don Mell, the city's electrical superintendent, said Niles was not hit as hard as area power lines managed by American Electric Power.
He said Niles suffered three major electrical outlays during Monday's storm.
The storm lasted from approximately 11:30 a.m to 11:45 a.m.
One happened on 12th and Regent streets, where a branch fell over a primary, causing 15 customers to lose power for an hour and a half.
Mell also said transformers were damaged on South 15th Street and in the 1300 block of Sheridan.
AEP, on the other hand, suffered major outages on Bond Street from the bypass to Bertrand Road, at Ironwood and areas north of Bertrand, Mell said.
Lt. Scott Rieth, Niles City Fire Department, said the city fire department attended five calls regarding branches or trees that came down as a result of Monday's storm.
On 11th and Sycamore streets and the above mentioned 12th and Regent streets, branches blocked the entire streets and damaged the power lines.
Rieth said the tree on the corner of 12th and Regent streets apparently had a week spot and the gusty winds tore it loose, leaving a gaping wound to the tree's trunk.
On United Fixtures Co.'s property on 2070 S. Third St., in Niles Township, three tall trees standing right next to the road came down.
Although always prepared for bad weather and the damage storms can do, Rieth said Monday's storm rolled in fast.
Rieth didn't know how strong the winds that went through Niles were, but said previous to the storm reports of up to 70 mph winds were predicted.
Joe Ray, engineering tech., City of Niles Public Works Department, said late Monday afternoon public works crews were still out cleaning up the streets in Niles.
He said the department received reports of damages at eight major locations.
The public works crews were still out cleaning up Niles' streets on Monday afternoon removing the large branches and trees first, taking care of the smaller branches later.