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Fallen tree takes down utility poles, cuts power to 1,700

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
The destruction at the corner of North Main and Hodges Street in South Boston. / July 30, 2017
Some 1,700 Dominion customers in South Boston and Halifax lost power Sunday afternoon when a large tree came down at the corner of North Main Street and Hodges Street, snapping utility poles, pulling down power lines and leaving a trail of destruction along a section of North Main.

The tree, on the property of Bob and Vicky Thomasson, fell around 2:33 p.m., said South Boston Fire Chief Steve Phillips. It landed across Hodges Street, away from the Thomasson home, and shattered a corner power pole at the stem. Across North Main Street, the top part of another utility pole was snapped off, leaving the streetlight dangling over the sidewalk. Five utility poles were damaged in all.

A wooden spike rising from the base was all that was left standing of the Thomassons' tree. The fall exposed the rotted core of what had been a stately feature of one of the busiest residential intersections in town.

"As you can see, it's flat rotted out," said Phillips as he looked at the tree from across the police line. "It's not enough wind [to have done this]. It pretty much fell on its own."

Phillips said he was apprised by Dominion that 1,600 to 1,700 customers lost power as a result of the mishap. Some area residents also lost phone service.

Boston Commons, across the street on North Main, was among the locations without power. Phiilips said it would take Dominion awhile longer than most to restore power to the assisted living facility because the electrical line leading into the building was also taken down by the tree. Utility workers planned to switch lines and create a new loop to get electricity restored at Boston Commons, he said.

Bob and Joanna Hughes, next door neighbors to the Thomassons, had just settled down in the rear part of their home to chat when "we heard this deep cracking sound," said Bob Hughes. "So help me God, it was like a car had hit the side of the house."

He said the cracking sound lasted seconds, one reason he and his wife both mistook the falling tree for a traffic crash.

This story will be updated.

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