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Corner Brook woman was worried about integrity of utility pole that cracked during Hurricane Dorian

A Newfoundland Power employee places a pylon on Caribou Road in Corner Brook, near where a utility pole cracked and was leaning dangerously Sunday afternoon.
A Newfoundland Power employee places a pylon on Caribou Road in Corner Brook, near where a utility pole cracked and was leaning dangerously Sunday afternoon. - Gary Kean

In the lead-up to the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, Peggy Parsons was concerned about one thing that was beyond her control.

She and her husband had done all they could to make their home on Caribou Road in Corner Brook safe.

But the old utility pole across the street, which needed replacing, still made her uneasy.

This cracked pole on Caribou Road in Corner Brook slackened the power lines connected to two homes on its side of the street and one on the opposite side Sunday afternoon.
This cracked pole on Caribou Road in Corner Brook slackened the power lines connected to two homes on its side of the street and one on the opposite side Sunday afternoon.

Just before 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, just as the strongest winds of Dorian bore down on western Newfoundland, Parsons heard the pole crack and the wires snap away from her house.

Parsons dialed 911, then called her neighbours to warn them of the danger outside. The wires to two houses across the street from the broken pole had also been dangerously slackened.

“It was quite a jolt when it happened, but it was expected a little bit,” she said. “I was concerned about what was going to happen with that pole, so it’s not a shock that it cracked in this storm.”

Her neighbours evacuated immediately as Newfoundland Power shut down the section of road that had live wires drooping perilously low to the ground.

Parsons said she was told by the fire department that responded to the call not to leave her home. She still had electricity, but the power eventually began to flicker on and off as the winds continued to pick up strength early Sunday afternoon.

“It’s kind of scary because I don’t want to lose my house,” she said. “I’m afraid to leave because I’m afraid it’s going to catch fire. If there’s a power surge, what am I going to lose?”

Parsons hopes the unfortunate turn of events now means the new pole will finally get put to the use it was intended for.

The mighty winds wreaked havoc throughout western Newfoundland from the time the storm arrived late Saturday and after intensifying later Sunday morning and afternoon.

Numerous trees were blown over, some across power lines causing power outages throughout the entire region.

In Corner Brook, East Valley Road had to be shut down to through traffic after a tall tree fell straight across the road.

This tree that fell across East Valley Road in Corner Brook around midday Sunday left the road closed to traffic until it could be cleaned up.
This tree that fell across East Valley Road in Corner Brook around midday Sunday left the road closed to traffic until it could be cleaned up.

In the Port aux Basques area, waves as high as 10 feet were recorded in the storm surge that pounded the coast.

In Woody Point, a shed used to count fish on the local wharf was lost to the sea water.

Hurricane and wind warnings remained in effect for the Corner Brook, Gros Morne and Parsons Pond vicinities well into late Sunday afternoon as the storm system moved its way northward along the coast, weakening as it progressed.

A tropical storm warning was still in effect for the Stephenville area south of Corner Brook.

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