Rocky Fork Enterprise

City, townships cleaning up after storms

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Gahanna and Mifflin Township were cleaning up Tuesday, July 8, after Monday evening's storms left police and fire personnel scrambling to respond to transformer fires and fallen trees and power lines.

Some Gahann and Jefferson Township residents remained without power, and Jefferson Township also had closed roads as a result of power lines that were down and trees blocking roadways.

Gahanna public-information manager Niel Jurist said the city's AEP representative estimated residents would have power restored by 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 8. The AEP representative also said Gahanna was the hardest-hit area in central Ohio, with 12 broken poles.

Jurist said all traffic signals were back in operation Tuesday, but Clotts Road remained closed because of trees on power lines.

She said the Riva Ridge-Venetian area seemed to have been the hardest-hit area in the city.

Joe Gerhart, Jefferson Township's service superintendent, said Tuesday morning that Mann Road was closed between Havens and Havens Corners roads. In addition, Havens Road was closed just east of Mann because of fallen power lines, and Darling Road was closed north of Havens Road.

Jefferson Township administrator Tom Spring said a tree was blown down early Monday evening on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road at the first house south of Havens Road, blocking the southbound lane.

Jefferson Township Fire Battalion Chief Brad Shull said the fire and service departments worked together from 7 to 10 p.m. Monday, clearing all that they could.

He said the severe thunderstorm caused widespread property damage to areas east of Hamilton Road to Waggoner Road and south of Morse Road to Havens Corners Road.

On Tuesday morning, Shull said, Waggoner Road, north of McOwen Road, remained closed because of a large tree taking down large power lines. In addition, Mann Road, just south of Howard Street, was closed because a large tree was down with power lines involved.

He said low-hanging power line were reported on Havens, west of Tally Ho Drive, and lines still were arching in the area of Babbitt and Clark State roads and had been added to AEP's list.

"Numerous other lines are down throughout the area," Shull wrote in a report to Jefferson Township Fire Chief Crystal Dickerson. "It is unknown how many are without power, but it would seem that we have a significant amount."

Gahanna emergency-operations director James Williams reported to Gahanna City Council prior to and at the end its July 7 meeting regarding damage from the storm that packed high winds, torrential rains and lightning.

City Hall briefly went dark during the meeting, but it was back on regular power by 7:20 p.m. July 7.

Williams said transformer fires occurred at Castle Pines Drive and Moon Glow Court, near Middle School East.

He said Gahanna police and Mifflin Township were strapped responding to storm-related incidents.

A large number of Gahanna police directed traffic at major intersections, where traffic signals were inoperable at Granville Street and Hamilton Road and at U.S. Route 62 and Hamilton.

"There were multiple lighting strikes," Williams said.

The MECC handled 36 runs for service for Mifflin Township from 5 to 11 p.m, said Melissa Rapp, Mifflin Township's public-information manager. She said that's more in a six-hour period than is typical in a 24-hour period for Mifflin Township. A typical 24-hour period is 25 to 30 runs.

She said most of the calls were reports of wires and tree limbs down, roads blocked with debris and some lightning strikes. Several calls were regarding fires from lightning strikes, but no one was forced from their home because of damage or injury, according to the fire department.

Mifflin Township responded to one call about a house fire from a lightning strike in the eaves of the roof at 620 Reindeer Lane, but it was contained and no one was injured.

Williams said the storm brought down many trees on private property in Gahanna.

Although Gahanna crews worked to clear debris from the streets, sidewalks and public property, Jurist said, fallen trees on private property are the property owners' responsibility.

Property owners may prepare the debris for regular yard-waste pickup. Limbs need to be cut to 4 feet or less in length, bundled in diameters of 18 inches or less and tied with twine.

Residents may drop off debris at the yard-waste bin at the service complex between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays.

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