Fallen Tree Limb Causes Power Outage and Sparks Fire that Destroys Van

December 26, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fallen tree limb snapped a power line at the home of Bobby Rader at 925 Earl Avenue Wednesday evening which caused a power outage for a portion of the city and sparked a fire that destroyed Rader's Dodge Caravan.

Rader says he was topping a tree in his yard when the incident occurred. "I was already up in the tree, cutting the tree, when my mother-in-law pulled up in a car underneath where it was going to fall, so I stopped cutting to get down out of the tree, to get her out of there. It then began popping and everything."

"It was just an accident. The limbs were getting dead and I was trying to prevent them from getting into the lines and over the people's (neighbor's) homes. One of the limbs caught the smaller wire and snapped it into. It burned my van up and basically knocked power out to half the city."

Neither Rader nor his mother-in-law were injured and her vehicle apparently wasn't damaged, but as the tree limb fell, it broke a power line which sparked a fire in the yard where Rader's Dodge Caravan was parked, destroying that vehicle.

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to the scene around 4:57 p.m.

Deputy City Fire Chief Hoyte Hale says firefighters dealt with the fire but had to be a little more cautious due to the nature of it. " There were two big balls of fire around the van where the electric line had fallen on it and about 30 feet down the road, a transformer was arching on fire. Due to the safety of the firemen, we couldn't get around the van to put any water on it until the electric company crew got here, but while they were enroute, we stood across the road and straight streamed a pre-connect attack line and got it knocked down and kept an eye on it until they arrived and repaired the line."

Rader praised the fire department for their efforts."The fire department did a real good job, more than they were expected to do. I'm glad they responded the way they did."

The power outage was widespread, affecting the subdivision where Earl Avenue is located, and many other streets to the south of Broad Street from Carter to Mountain.

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