Chiefs of the Mad River Township and Hustead Fire Departments provided information concerning their respective departments at the Mad River Township Trustee meeting held Monday, August 3.
Chief Larry Ridenour of the Hustead Fire Department expressed his concern for the amount of time it takes for Ohio Edison crews to respond to reports of downed power lines or utility poles.
At last month’s meeting, Ridenour touched on the subject, saying that Old Mill Road and Fairfield Pike almost always experience downed trees during storm or wind events, and that they often fall onto power lines. He said at the last meeting that he has experienced long delays in getting a representative from Ohio Edison to respond in such instances, and noted at Monday night’s meeting that he experienced the same issues late Sunday night/Monday morning when a tree fell onto power lines on Springfield-Jamestown Road.
Ridenour said the storms that rolled through early Monday morning around 4 a.m. produced heavy lightning strikes, one of which struck a tall Oak tree, causing it to fall on power lines. Ridenour said the response time by Ohio Edison representatives has drastically declined in recent years, saying that his crews are forced to wait at least two hours before receiving word from Ohio Edison that the lines have been disconnected and are safe to approach.
Trustee Kathy Estep asked Ridenour if this was a problem experienced by all fire departments in the area. He told her that he knew Pitchin and Mad River Township also encountered the same issues in wait times for Ohio Edison representatives. Estep said she would discuss the issue at the next county-wide meeting of local township associations, as she noted that Ohio Edison representatives were always in attendance at such meetings to discuss their service provided to the area.
Ridenour said he believed that the utility only employed one representative to be on call for “three or four counties,” stating: “you’re lucky if you get someone out there in two hours.”
Trustee Joe Catanzaro expressed concern for the safety issues involved, saying he feared that such a delay in response time to cut the power to the lines could potentially result in tragedy. Ridenour agreed, saying: “Something’s going to happen sometime and waiting to get someone out there—it’s going to be critical.”
Ridenour said his crews waited more than two hours for a representative from Ohio Edison to contact them before finally cutting the downed limb themselves, once they could do so safely after the intense lighting had passed.
Ridenour said the Hustead Fire Department had responded to a total of 73 runs so far this year, with seven runs since the last meeting held July 20. Those runs include:
July 21—seven personnel responded to the Air National Guard Base on Blee Road.
July 22—to State Route 72 for a trash truck on fire.
July 24—to Snyderville Road for a mutual aid request for a house fire with Mad River Township. Crews were cancelled en route.
July 25—to Springfield-Xenia Road at Blee Road for a possibly intoxicated driver who crashed head-first into a tree around midnight.
July 26—to Old Mill for a report of a smoke odor in the home—crews only found a hot furnace blower motor.
July 27—to Springfield-Jamestown Road for a gravel truck that had overturned. Crews assisted for several hours directing traffic and righting the vehicle.
Mad River Township Fire Chief Tracy Young said his department has responded to a total of 1,039 calls for service since the beginning of the year.
Young said that after last month’s meeting on July 20, he was approached by members of the Enon Community Historical Society, who donated $1,000 toward the purchase of the department’s new Lucas Device, which performs automatic CPR on patients. Young thanked the ECHS for their generous donation. He also announced that his department will hold a formal press conference on Monday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. to unveil the new Lucas Device and to publically thank all of the private and commercial donors who supported the purchase of the device, which costs around $12,000.