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Winds wreck havoc
Wind storm damages BEST.jpg
Damages to two vehicles and the side of Heidi Blakeley’s home on Rebel Hill Street are being blamed on fierce winds that traveled through Warren County on Thursday morning. - photo by Nikki Childers

Strong winds brought by a stormfront working its way through the Warren County area Thursday are being blamed for some damages to powerlines and property.

“We had 21 people without power on Viola Road,” said McMinnville Electric System general manager Rodney Boyd. “It happened at 7:45 a.m. and lasted about 50 minutes. A tree had fallen onto a line and tripped a breaker, but did not tear anything down. We were able to cut the tree off the line and return service to the area promptly.”

Damages to other trees in the McMinnville area included a residence on Rebel Hill Street, where a large chunk of one tree toppled into another, bringing massive branches down on top of two vehicles and the side of the occupant’s house. Both vehicles remained trapped under the branches into the afternoon.

“I heard something loud and felt the house shaking at about 4 a.m. We’re from California, so we thought it was an earthquake,” said resident Heidi Blakeley. “I came outside to check, and saw the trees had fallen. It fell on top of two of our three vehicles. The third one was a few inches away and the branches only scratched it. Our truck is likely totaled, but we’re unsure of the car.”

Blakeley explained she and her family had been without power since the incident, and that the process to restore power was going to take time due to the fact powerlines had been dragged down by the branches of the trees.

“The power outage was isolated to their residence,” said Boyd. “Apparently the trees damaged the house and other things when they fell, so an electrician will have to come out before we can get power restored to them.”

Boyd suggests people be careful about where and what kind of trees they plant on their property, as well as what features are around them, such as pools, houses and power lines.

“Our saying is always ‘Right tree for the right location,’” said Boyd. “Every tree out here is going to fall one day, and people need to be aware of that. We have a tree program, and can remove trees for people that have grown into primary lines. We take those trees out and grind the stump or replant it, free of charge.”

No other power outages were reported within the MES service area Thursday.