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Published: Saturday, 6/9/2007

High wind shuts off electricity to 25,000 Toledo Edison customers

BLADE STAFF AND WIRE SERVICES
Tammie Kerr calls Toledo Edison to report her power is out after a band of heavy thunderstorms
moved through the area, downing tree limbs and power lines and burying her car outside her home at 651 Knower St. in Toledo s south end. Thousands of homes and businesses in the area also lost power because of yesterday s storm. Tammie Kerr calls Toledo Edison to report her power is out after a band of heavy thunderstorms moved through the area, downing tree limbs and power lines and burying her car outside her home at 651 Knower St. in Toledo s south end. Thousands of homes and businesses in the area also lost power because of yesterday s storm.
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About 500 Toledo Edison customers are still without power today after gusts of up to 62 mph snapped utility poles and felled trees as thunderstorms crossed the Toledo area yesterday. Originally, 25,000 Toledo Edison customers were without electricity.

Power to all the affected customers, most of whom are in the greater Toledo area, is expected to be back on by this evening, according to Edison spokesman Richard Wilkins said.

That's the most power outages produced by a storm in 2006 or 2007, Wilkins said.

The first storm left about 5,000 customers without power. But within a few hours, 20,000 more were without power from a second wave of storms.

Service had been restored to all but 3,000 customers by 9:30 last night. The customers are scattered through South Toledo, Northwood, Perrysburg, Holland, and other suburban areas.

The peak gusts were reported at Toledo Express Airport at 1:21 p.m. and at Metcalf Field at 1:39 p.m.

Shortly before 2 p.m., a tree fell into an abandoned house at 2051 Navarre Ave., near Thurston Avenue, knocking power lines into the house and starting a fire, Toledo Police Sgt. Richard Murphy said.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOUISVILLE, Ohio Lightning caused fire at a middle school and explosions to gas tanks as thunderstorms moved through northern and northeast Ohio, leaving thousands without power.

The roof of the Louisville middle school caught fire and three or four classrooms sustained water damage as the blaze burned for about 20 minutes around 5 p.m. Friday, said fire Capt. George Starr.

The school, about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland, also had smoke damage and parts of the roof were cut open as firefighters attacked the fire at the $16.2-million school that opened in fall 2004.

They got it taken care of quickly, so it didn t spread. It could have been a lot worse. said Louisville Superintendent Clyde Lepley.

Across the northern part of the state, from Toledo to Youngstown, there were reports of felled trees, downed power lines and damaging hail.

In Osnaburg Township outside Canton, Michael Wertz said he and his family heard two booms as lightning struck a gas tank in a field near his home and the gas inside the tank ignited.

The fire burned for about 20 minutes and flames reached to 25 feet, said Jeff Beltz of the Osnaburg Township Fire Department.

In Beaver Township south of Youngstown, firefighters and emergency medical personnel responded late Friday afternoon to a report that a man had been struck by lightning. Township police were unable to give his name or condition late Friday.

The storms blew a storage garage from its foundation at Bob Hoff s Spring Willow Farm in Marlboro Township outside Canton.

It was the worst I ve ever seen since I ve lived here, Hoff said.

Stark County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Warstler said the storms were sporadic.

Here and there, there were trees down. For the most part, we fared pretty well.

There are probably a few dozen homes that have minor damage, he said.

In Warren, officials said the storm knocked out weather radios and information for the pump station at the water pollution control plant.

Youngstown police said the Mahoning County juvenile detention center was unable to accept new inmates during a temporary power outage Friday afternoon.

Also in Youngstown, Chaney High School graduates and their families and friends sat in the basement of Stambaugh Auditorium during a 45 minute delay in commencement ceremonies after the power went out there.

Although the speeches made here may not be long remembered, that tornado drill we had will, said Bruce Donahue, a dean at the school.

Overall, the Youngstown area experienced about 50,000 outages, of which more than half were restored by mid-evening, according to a FirstEnergy spokeswoman.

Crews were to work through the night to restore power.



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