Fallen tree limb knocks out power for almost 2,900 residents

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | 12:03 p.m. CST; updated 12:56 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — A fallen tree limb left about 2,900 people without electricity Monday night. The affected area, which included part of Broadway, extended from Garth Avenue to West Boulevard and Stewart Road to Worley Street.

At 8:45 p.m., a tree limb fell on the power line, causing the electrical circuit to go down, said Connie Kacprowicz, public information specialist for the Water and Light Department. The protective device that normally confines the outage to a small area was frozen and didn’t act correctly, causing a much larger group of houses to lose power.

Electrical crews replaced the frozen protective device in about an hour, restoring power to a majority of the houses. However, it took the crews another hour to locate the circuit and fix the damage the limb caused, leaving 40 to 50 houses along the Broadway corridor without power until 10:45 p.m.

Though many heating systems run on natural gas, electricity still powers the fans that disperse that heat. Therefore, it is likely some residents were without heat during the outage, Kacprowicz said.

“As we saw last night, severe weather takes its toll on the system,” Kacprowicz said. “The system is stressed more than it would be. But we’ve been fortunate that we’ve had as few outages as we’ve had.”

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