ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The high winds tore down power lines in numerous areas around our region making it a very long, busy day for many western New Yorkers.
“Everything went off,” said Maris McNamara, an Orchard Park resident. “We had to go around and check everything; reset the clocks”
McNamara works from home. She says they first lost power around 2:30 p.m.
“It went out four times today throughout the day and it was a little disruptive.”
At the height of the storm, National Grid and NYSEG were reporting more than 2000 outages in the area, keeping crews busy. Downed power lines like the one along Como Park Blvd in Cheektowaga closed roads for hours which also kept first responders busy as well.
“The wire primary was down, was arching,” said Greg Gaczewski, the First Assistant Chief at Bellevue Fire Company who responded to a down line on fire at Union Road. “Grass was burning. With the wind being as heavy as it was, it was starting to blow the fire.”
The Bellevue fire company responded to that and the Como Park Blvd. downed lines simultaneous around 12:45 Wednesday afternoon. They say they weren’t anticipating calls to come in that early.
“We expected some lines some limbs to come down but at that time no,” said Gaczweski.
With so many calls going out to power companies, the fire crews had to wait for longer than an hour for a NYSEG team to respond, shutting off the breakers before they could start fighting the power line fire.
“It was next to a residence so we didn’t know it would spread,” said the Assistant Chief. “Luckily, the rain sort of softened up the grass so it wouldn’t spread.”
NYSEG crews continued to responded to downed lines and other outages throughout the evening. They say they tried to have everything done by sundown as it is much more difficult to do their job at night. Due to the call volume, NYSEG crews were not able to do that when this storm rolled in so they will be working through the night, trying to repair all of the downed lines.