Almost nine hours after a trash hauling truck snapped a utility pole and downed lines causing a regional power outage in St. Clair on one of the hottest days of the year Thursday, electricity was restored to the final affected residences.
St. Clair Fire Protection District firefighter Dan Cooley, the chief information officer for the incident, told The Missourian on Friday morning that Ameren Missouri employees restored the power to the remaining 30 or so homes at about 11:30 p.m.
Almost 200 residences were without power for a period of time in the heat of the day beginning at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday when the Timber Ridge Hauling truck snagged the power lines and snapped a utility pole between 400 and 410 Ann Court, causing the outage.
The 180 residences without power included the senior apartment complex on Park Avenue across the street from St. Clair Southern Baptist Church.
The temperature was as high as 105 degrees when the incident occurred.
By about 4:30 p.m., Ameren employees had rerouted power so about 150 of the affected residences had their electricity back, including residents of the senior apartment complex. However, some homes on Ann Street, Park Drive and Columbia Avenue as well as St. Clair Southern Baptist Church, where the command center was established, remained in the dark until Ameren was able to sink a new utility poll and fix the downed wires.
During the incident, a cooling station was established at the St. Clair Community Center, 310 Park Ave. Cooley said he thought about four or five individuals spent some time there. The American Red Cross, which responded to the scene to provide canteen service, put up two affected families who had members with health concerns at Budget Lodging overnight.
Cooley said other affected people went to homes of friends or relatives to stay cool.
“Overall, other than the inconvenience of the heat, things were handled well,” Cooley said, adding that no one was injured or treated during the ordeal.
“Everyone involved with this worked well together. The police department, fire department and ambulance district all did a great job,” he said.
The command center was terminated at about 10:30 p.m.
Cooley said the trash truck driver was dumping a load of trash into the back of the vehicle in front of 400 Ann St. heading toward Park Drive when part of the truck snagged the overhead power lines. The utility pole snapped under the stress of the lines being pulled.
Power lines were downed on the street as well as in neighboring yards and were “live” until the first Ameren employee arrived and cut the power 15 to 20 minutes after the incident. The top half of the utility pole came to rest near the truck.
The driver escaped uninjured.
When police, fire and ambulance personnel arrived, they started going door-to-door in the surrounding areas to begin checking on individuals and to see how extensive the outage was.
They also blocked off the area around the truck.
Homes at least as far away as Pasadena Avenue near the Meadow Oaks subdivision north of where the accident took place were affected. Homes east of the incident also lost power. However, the nearby community center and swimming pool did not lose power. The downtown area also was not affected.
Law enforcement and emergency personnel continued to check affected residences every 30 to 45 minutes to make sure everyone was OK. The Red Cross had water, lemonade and snacks available.