Wind topples power pole
Electric superintendent thrice lucky in repair work
Marion electric superintendent Clayton Garnica got a wild ride Thursday as he worked on a partially-toppled power pole in the alley south of Main St. between 3rd and 4th Sts.
Winds were gusting over 40 mph when the pole, embedded in concrete, snapped off at its base shortly after businesses had closed at 5 p.m.
Three electrical lines at the very top of the pole kept it from falling to the ground.
Garnica’s job was to ride a cherry picker high into the sky, trying to keep his hard hat from being blown away as he disconnected wires, transformers, and a light so the pole could be taken down safely.
“It was pretty windy,” Garnica said. “It made it tough to work up there, but it’s just part of the element we deal with.”
Timing was on Garnica’s side, as the first order of business was to shut the power off.
“The time we went to work on the power pole, businesses were closed,” he said. “If it had happened at noon we would have had to disrupt some power.”
Garnica caught another break when he determined that he didn’t need to relocate the transformers.
“Those transformers fed Cindy’s Café, and that restaurant hasn’t had power to it since it closed,” he said. “We don’t need to replace the pole until someone moves into the building.”
The third bit of luck had to do with the relatively close spacing of power poles in the alley. If the poles on either side of the downed pole had been spaced more than 200 feet apart, Garnica would have had to immediately install a new pole.
However, the distance between the remaining poles was 160 feet, Garnica said, sufficient to support the three remaining power lines.
Garnica said that the concrete footing around the pole likely contributed to its decay and failure.
“That pole was shot; it needed to come out,” he said.
Last modified April 19, 2018