That, my friends, is the 200-year-old oak tree that Derecho 2012 decided to bring down across my road and drop squarely in my driveway. It's also the tree that snapped a high-voltage power line resulting in not one, but TWO explosions...and a fireball, but that came later.
Explosion one came when the line snapped. I happened to be staring out the bedroom window at the exact moment the line snapped sparks were flying everywhere...well not everywhere but mostly in front of our neighbor's house. I was very afraid their house would catch on fire so I screamed at DBF to call them and tell them to get out. As I'm yelling, there was another larger and much louder explosion that lit the whole house bright orange for a few seconds.
This was the result. A hole in a 4" thick concrete driveway where the high-voltage line landed.
|Electricity will win every time.|
Thankfully our neighbors were fine and their house was relatively unscathed. Funny thing about ground wires to your house, though, they're not picky about which way they send the current. They'll send that current into your house just as readily as they'll send it out of your house.
It took 5 days before the city got out to clean up that tree. So our road was closed at our driveway for 5 days. For us to leave, DBF had to take his truck off-roading across our front yard, around the downed power lines, and in between a tree and the damaged telephone pole.
Do you know how a power company (or at least our power company) tests the lines? They make them live and see what happens. Do you know what happens when you make a high-voltage power line live when one end of it is sitting in a pile of tree debris? Fireball.
I wasn't present for the fireball, so I have no pictures. But I imagined it looked something like this.
Anyway...the fire department came out but, since it was an electrical fire, they had to get the power company to turn off the power they turned on which caused the fireball. That took a while, so the neighborhood gathered to watch the fire since that was pretty much the only thing going on.
This thing that DBF is holding was in our front yard. It used to be on the telephone pole.
A fantastic crew from Blue Bell, PA (3 hours away according to Google) hooked it back up:
While this guy, who actually works for our city, did this:
...a lot, in fact.
But there was some good in all of this.
- We were unhurt and we suffered no property damage (a miracle in and of itself).
- I got a really good workout cleaning up the tree debris.
- We got to know more of our neighbors and, as it turns out, most of them are pretty cool people.
I've also redeemed myself regarding yard work. I managed to clear a whole crapload of debris, plus a monster shrub, without breaking anything.
It's good to know that I am actually capable of operating yard tools without ending up in the hospital.