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Fallen tree cuts power in Clinton

A Puget Sound Energy contractor saws through a tree in Clinton that fell onto a power line and knocked out electricity to 700 homes Monday morning. The outage was short-lived, as power was restored about 90 minutes after the accident.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
A Puget Sound Energy contractor saws through a tree in Clinton that fell onto a power line and knocked out electricity to 700 homes Monday morning. The outage was short-lived, as power was restored about 90 minutes after the accident.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

High winds knocked a tree down, splitting its top onto the ground and dangling its trunk in a Clinton power line. Ben Watanabe / The Record | A Puget Sound Energy worker inspects a downed tree leaning on a power line in Clinton on Monday.

The stress blew a transformer and cut power to 700 homes in Clinton near the ferry terminal around 7:20 a.m. Monday.

“The sound was crazy,” said Kristie Davis, who was working in the Southern Cross Espresso stand when the tree cracked. “I ran out of the stand.”

Leaning on the line, a 20-plus foot tree trunk caused the power line to sag at least six feet down on the wires along Central Avenue near Commercial Street.

Whidbey Island Bank’s reader board, which usually displays the time and date, was dark, as were all the lights along Highway 525. Davis said she saw several cars and buses drive on Central Avenue under the compromised power line. Had the wire snapped, it could have been a dangerous scene.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS responders from the Clinton station just down the street closed access to Commercial and Central avenues for more than an hour. Deputy Chief Mike Cotton, Clinton station Capt. Jerry Beck and Adam Conley wanted to keep people away from the potential hazard area where the line could injure someone.

Beck said “luckily” no one was injured by the tree.

Puget Sound Energy sent a worker to saw through the tree, about three feet from

where it rested on the power line. The serviceman was able to restore power to the area by 8:50 a.m. the same morning, said Terri-Ann Betancourt, a PSE spokeswoman.

Gusts were measured near 30 mph in Clinton, according to weatherunderground.com, around the time of the tree’s fall. Wind speeds of 10 to 15 mph were observed between 7 and 10 a.m.

 

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