Power outage hit utility when it’s down
and Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS- A lightning strike Monday night left 500 Glenwood Springs Electric System customers without power.
The lightning struck the city’s electricity distribution system and blew several fuses, said Glenwood Springs Electric superintendent John Hines.
The strike led to more customers losing power than normal because the north Glenwood Springs substation is under repair following a lightning strike two weeks ago, said Hines.
While the North Glenwood Substation is being repaired, the city is basically being powered by the city’s other two substations, he said.
The substation repair also made the power outage last longer than it typically would have because workers had to reroute power and replace fuses.
The power outage lasted from about 10 p.m. Monday to about 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Hines said the majority of customers in the east part of town and north of Valley View Hospital lost power.
The Glenwood Springs Post Independent office also lost power shortly before the press deadline. The combination of waiting for power to be restored and the overnight closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon resulted in late home delivery of papers Tuesday morning.
Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper said Monday’s lightning storm prompted at least two calls of trees on fire.
The first was near Dodson Engineered Products in South Glenwood Springs. Lightning struck a tree in the evening and firefighters extinguished it early Tuesday after noticing that it was still smoking.
“It was an isolated snag on the side of a hill,” Piper said.
The other call was for a tree that was reported smoking near Sunlight Mountain Resort.
“But we couldn’t find it,” Piper said.
Despite the heavy rain that accompanied the storms on Monday, Piper said lightning-sparked fire is still a possibility.
“It’ll hit it and rain will put out the surface fire, but it’ll still stay in the roots,” Piper said.
If the fire continues to smolder, it’s then possible for the tree’s trunk to ignite once the weather dries out – even a few days later.
“That lightning is pretty hot, so when it hits, it gets down into those roots,” he said.
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