Families deal with power outage with creativity

John Hacker

With power knocked out to about 200 homes, Carthage residents had to improvise when it came to entertaining children and staying busy until power crews could make the rounds.

In the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Case Street, the Jardin family set up a dining shelter in their front yard and chatted with friends after the fierce winds of Friday morning’s storm blew down a tree and took down two power poles and the line in their front yard.

Angel Jardin said when the storm struck, it blew down the power poles in front of their home and south of their home. When they fell, they trapped one motorist driving down the street between them.

“The telephone pole down the street clipped the rear of the car as this woman was driving north up the street,” Angel Jardin said. “She stopped right between the fallen poles. I think she was shaken up a bit.”

Angel and Mike Jardin said they were inside their home when they heard the wind blew and they heard the loud cracking and crashing of the big tree in their front yard coming down.

“When we looked out the front door, we could see the wind still trying to roll the downed tree,” Angel Jardin said. “City crews came and cut up the tree to get it out of the road. We saved a limb with a birds nest in it.”

The Jardins said the falling tree and power pull didn’t damage their meter or weather head meaning they would have power as soon as CWEP crews got done replacing the poles and lines.

$300 repair

Brian Wolsey lives down the street at 1135 S. Case St. He wasn’t as lucky as the Jardins. The falling pole took out his meter and weather head, meaning he would have to call an electrician before his power was restored.

“I’ve been told by every electrician in town it would be Sunday before they could get to me,” Wolsey said. “There is no damage to the house other than I’ve got to have an electrician come in and fix the meter. The last time this happened in the ice storms December two years ago it cost me $300 to get it fixed.”

Wolsey was at work at Doane’s, a pet food factory between Joplin and Galena, Kan., when the storm ripped through.

“It was way worse there than it was here,” he said. “We spent about two hours in the storm shelter. It broke out the windows in about 12 cars and ripped garage doors open at work.”

Firewood

Back up north at 1043 S. Case St., friends and neighbors were working together to cut up a huge oak tree that fell from James Mead’s yard into Budlong Street.

“I was in bed, then I was out of bed when the hail started rattling on our metal roof . I heard the big limb fall in the backyard and I looked at it for a few minutes and went back to bed,” James Mead said. “I was back up about 10 minutes later when all the wind hit. Then at about 7:20 (a.m.) after a bunch of hail hit, there was a pretty loud crash and I knew something big had happened.”

Mead said the tree didn’t break, it was pulled out by its roots. National Weather Service meteorologists said wet weather in recent weeks had saturated the ground weakening the ability of even the largest tree’s root system to keep it anchored in the ground.

Mead said he planned to use some of the wood from the tree for firewood, sell some of that, then try to sell the main trunk as a log for a lumber mill.

Mead’s wife, Claudine Mead, said she was already at work when at ESM Technology, 2213 Missouri St., when the storm hit.

“I got to work at about 6:45 a.m. and went inside,” Claudine Mead said. “I went inside and didn’t pay a lot of attention to the weather until I heard it pouring onto the roof. We looked out the door and it was black and hail and rain were pouring down. When the sirens went off, the two girls and I at work went to the tornado shelter.”

Tree versus garage

Bob and Irene Brandt, 1242 S. Garrison St., had only Wednesday been sitting in their back yard talking about how they would always have the big, century-old oak tree in their back yard for shade.

On Friday, that same huge oak was lying on its side embedded in their garage. The tree took down power lines in the alley between Garrison Avenue and Maple Street.

“It was here when my mother bought this place 50 years ago,” Bob Brandt said. “It was a big tree then, it’s probably well over 100 years old, but it was a good one.”

Bob Brandt said he heard the wind and a crash and the power went out. He looked out the back door and saw that a big limb had fallen from a maple tree the couple had planted about 10 years ago, but with the wind and swirling debris, he didn’t notice that the huge oak had fallen and crushed half his garage until after the storm had passed.

The tree’s fall had a huge impact on Robyn Thompson’s business, Pat’s Books and Crafts on Garrison Street next door to the Brandts.

The tree took out her telephone line, meaning she also couldn’t make credit card transactions.

Thompson said telephone crews with AT&T told her they wouldn’t get to her line until Thursday, meaning her business will be impacted for several days even after electricity is restored.

“I can’t open up because I have no power and that building is like a cave with no lights,” Thompson said. “I had one woman who came and said she had to have a book because she lost power too, but in general, I’m sitting on the porch turning customers away because I have no power.

“It could have been a lot worse, my windows could have been broken out or the building could have been damaged. I’m thankful because no one was hurt.”

Carthage Press