The power in the City of Hillsdale went down for about 24 minutes Wednesday afternoon.
Due to wind, the top of an oak tree fell on one of the main transmission lines that feeds into the city, according to Board of Public Utilities Director Chris McArthur. The line was hit near Wildlife Drive, just off of Moore Road. The power in town and on the Hillsdale College campus went out around 1:38 p.m. and was back up at 2:02 p.m. The outage affected about 6,000 customers, McArthur said. This follows another incident on Sept. 20 in which a downed tree took out local power for several hours.
McArthur noted that crews were working quickly to get the power running.
“The top of the oak tree was about 75 feet away from the line,” McArthur said. “There are just some things we don’t have any control over. There’s a certain right of way we trim. We attempt to keep it clear as best we can.”
McArthur said this is the third big tree that has done extensive damage to city power lines this year. He said it doesn’t take a lot of wind to knock down old trees. The city does, however, use equipment and funding to keep trees clear of power lines, he said.
On the college campus, the power was out during classes. Sophomore Jack Coker said in a message that his Understanding Theatre class with James Brandon, chairman and professor of theatre and dance, was moved into Markel Auditorium because the emergency lights were on in that room.
Senior Josiah Leinbach said in a message that he was accompanying some voice students when the power went out.
“Don’t worry,” he told them. “Beethoven didn’t need electricity to play, so I should be fine.”
Meanwhile, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ian Walsh was teaching in the Strosacker Science Center, and his classroom had emergency lights, he said in an email.
Walsh said the lights were back on only a few minutes after starting.
“In class we were having a discussion on climate change, so we could say we were shutting off the power to save the planet,” he said.