UPDATE: Power still out, Midlothian Turnpike reopens - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

UPDATE: Power still out, Midlothian Turnpike reopens

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Crews are on the scene of a downed power line in the 5700 block of Midlothian Turnpike. The road has reopened, though there is a four-way stop in effect at German School Road because the power is out to the stop lights.

It happened just after 6 a.m. while power crews were working on the pole. There were no injuries.

About 500 people are without power because of the accident. Originally 6,000 customers were without power.

Crews are working to figure out why the pole snapped. As of 10 a.m., a replacement pole has been put in place. The estimate is that power and cable would be restored between noon and 2 p.m.

Traffic is still blocked in both directions between German School Road and Giant Drive. Midlothian Turnpike was closed for several hours.

"What I was thinking was, I hope I live that's the only thing I was thinking. I hope I live," says Harry Hargrove. He was in a bucket truck early this morning, just doing his everyday job, when something went, very wrong.

"The pole just collapsed. Snapped in half. And, when the pole snapped, sparks went everywhere. It was chaos out there," says Hargrove. 

He was actually on his way down toward the ground when it all happened. "I had to jump out of the bucket as quick as I could. Then, I just went up under the truck and waiting for it to die down."

Eventually it did, but a cable line was left laying across Midlothian Turnpike, closing the road for hours and causing a traffic nightmare just before rush hour.

Amazingly, Hargrove and two other people working with him escaped, without a scratch!

"They just came over to me, gave me a hug shook my hand and was just happy that I survived," says Hargrove about his coworkers.  

Crews put a new pole in place this morning and transferred the lines. At one point, about 6,000 Dominion VA Power customers were without power, including the Econo Lodge down the road, which first lost its lights.

"The phones were dead. The computers were dead. Everything was just completely gone," says Cadora Gilmore, the manager at Econo Lodge. 

Luckily, they had a backup system that did not affect their check ins.

"Fortunately, I am still here. Counting my blessings that's right! I'm counting my blessings. Just glad to be here," says Hargrove.

George Wythe High School was closed for the day because of a power outage at the school. We're told the school was taking SOL tests, but they will be made up before the end of the year.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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