The lineman’s view of a tornado...by Midwest Electric Lineman Jesse Tuenta, thanks to Midwest Electric for allowing us to share this with you. The below was posted on the Midwest Facebook page.
At 2:30pm Sunday we got the first call of outages coming in. We knew there was a confirmed tornado in the area of St. Anthony and still an active tornado/severe storm. We headed out to the St. Anthony area while trying to keep from driving through the tornado/severe storm. We wanted to get behind it as fast and safely as possible to start the restoration process.
When we got to Pine Road between Rauh and Wabash Rd the damage was devastating. We quickly started to clear the power lines/poles off the road and isolating them so we could get the main line back on. Around 3:30pm we had been informed of the rest of the path of the tornado/storm and severity. We called home and made sure our family’s were safe and taken care of for the night.
Around dark we had Pine Rd. cleaned up and isolated. We also received a couple of bottles of water from a very nice woman who I would like to say thank you to again. On St. Peter Rd. we had wire down on the road where we met a Mercer County sheriff blocking the road keeping cars from hitting the wire till we got there to put it back in the air.
Then we continued throughout Mercer County, replacing insulators, putting wire back up, removing trees from lines, taking care of broken poles. One of the poles had bean stubble, corn fodder and grass wedged in the cracks of the pole all the way to the top.
It was around midnight when we were done in the St. Anthony area. We headed to St. Marys to change a transformer and put wire back up in the private. The private is someone’s farm field or in this case someone’s back yard. Another tree fell on the primary causing a transformer’s bushing to break, primary wire to break, and the ridge pin/insulator to break. Fortunately the pole didn’t break. Private work is always more difficult than work done along the road.
We finished up in the private around 5:30am and around this time I was very thankful that a wonderful woman had given us a couple bottles of water! By this time most of the outages were being restored by the other crews, who also started work early Sunday evening. Then we headed to Sunderland Rd. to clean up a tree on the lines.
I want to say thank you to the members for calling in and helping us find the problems, giving us bottles of water, being so patient in a time of frustration, and to the sheriffs, state highway patrol, fire departments, EMS, county workers…. the whole community!
It takes a community to get through these times and I’m so glad our territory stretches through so many great ones!
Next time you see a lineman who takes care of your thank them for what they do in some very dangerous circumstances. To many times we all take our electric service for granted, thanks to men like Jesse we are all in good hands.