The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Culpeper cleaning up storm damage
Here’s the latest on the situation in Culpeper from Wally Bunker, its public information officer:
Culpeper County and Town officials are attempting to deal with the devastation suffered last night from the fast-moving thunderstorm that caused numerous downed trees, power outages and a house fire.
“We opened two cooling shelters to allow people to get out of the extreme heat and have access to water during the power outages and accompanying heat wave,” said Culpeper County Emergency Services Director Tom Williams.
The shelters, which are open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., are located at the Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department at 19601 Church Rd., in Brandy Station and the Culpeper Volunteer Fire Department at 151 West Davis Street in downtown Culpeper. The Red Cross and Culpeper County Social Services personnel are manning the Brandy Station location, while fire personnel at CCVFD are operating the downtown station.
Town and County officials have been dealing with numerous downed trees and power lines since last night’s storm. Deputies have been directing traffic in those dangerous areas. Town police blocked off streets closed by broken electric poles and fallen trees in town.
South West Street, Piedmont Street and Fairfax Street had the most damage. Trees knocked down power lines and snapped utility poles, leaving wires in the street and trees blocking roads.
VDOT and power company crews have responded to calls in the county as rapidly as possible to restore power and open roads, said Williams.
At one time 15 county roads were closed by trees across the roadway. Three town streets were also closed for the same reason.
A house in Brandy Station suffered extensive damage when a tree fell into it, said Williams. A tree also fell across a pickup truck parked in a Piedmont Street driveway in downtown.
A fully house fire involved house fire, attributed to the storm, was reported on River Road.
Town Light and Power crews have been working since about 10:15 p.m. last night – after the fast-moving storm passed through the area – to restore power. The storm left 1,034 town electric customers without power. By 8 a.m. today, all but 170 residential and 5 commercial customers had power restored.
“We isolated the lines and opened circuits to restore power where we could,” said Light and Power Director Mike Stover.
The light and power director noted it could be days before everyone has their power back.
Town Public Works crews armed with chainsaws removed large trees from the town roadways and off of fallen power lines. Light and Power personnel removed damaged poles – some snapped in half – and began replacing them.
Town electric crews are wrestling with replacing 12 broken poles, 24 cross arms, six damaged transformers and one main overhead line down. Town public works crews are working to clear the roads and electric lines of fallen trees. Numerous trees fell or were damaged by the storm.
The Town of Front Royal Energy Services sent two crews to supplement town Light and Power crews to help restore power as quickly as possible.
“When we asked for help, Front Royal quickly responded,” said Culpeper Town Manager Kim Alexander. “We appreciate beyond words their prompt response and hard work during these trying conditions and extreme heat.”
Culpeper Public Works Director Jim Hoy, who surveyed the damage and called in additional personnel, cautioned citizens to check their trees for damage.
“Some trees have been compromised by the storm, which carried high winds,” said Hoy. “A tree professional should examine trees for damage.”
Hoy also reminded people that since there are a power outage doesn’t mean that all power lines are de-energized.
“Don’t approach those lines or attempt to cut away fallen trees or limbs from wires that may appear to be harmless,” said Hoy. “They may be live.
He suggested calling your electric provider or 911 before attempting to do any work near fallen lines.