337 in county still without electricity

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Power had been restored to all but 337 homes in the Vicksburg area this morning following outages from thunderstorms and heavy rain Monday night and Tuesday.

Separately, autopsy results showed that the man who died while operating a chain saw on a fallen tree, James “Jimmy” Boyd, 52, 7808 Jeff Davis Road, died from a heart attack, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey said.

Boyd stopped while apparently on his way home and was stricken while working to clear a downed tree blocking traffic on Fisher Ferry Road near Amanda Drive shortly after the storm hit around 9 p.m. He was found with his hand still touching the idling chain saw, the lights from his vehicle illuminating the tree.

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Responding emergency medical workers from the Fisher Ferry Volunteer Fire Department and the Vicksburg Fire Department attempted to revive Boyd but could not, Huskey said.

At the height of the outages Tuesday morning, about 4,000 Entergy customers were without power, said spokesman Don Arnold. That number had been reduced to 1,300 by midafternoon, and all homes were expected to be restored by the end of today, he said.

Problems from downed trees continued this morning. Around 6:30, a 911 caller from Parkside near Rose Lane reported flames showing on lines from a tree on electrical wires.

An Entergy map showed scattered outages around the city and county, including about 100 in the Wildwood subdivision, which Vicksburg Street Department superintendent Skipper Whittington said Tuesday afternoon was the city’s most serious problem.

Trees and limbs snapped power poles, ripped out electrical lines and blocked areas of McAuley Drive and McAuley Place. Crews were out this morning to replace three poles, Arnold said. “They should have that done today,” he said.

In the 1700 block of Tiffintown Road in Bovina, power was restored Tuesday night but damage cleanup continued from a red oak tree that fell Monday night and punched holes in the roof of the home of Mike and Nancy Biggers. The tree fell in heavy wind gusts about 20 minutes before the rain hit, Mike Biggers said.

The Biggerses were home with their 3-year-old grandson but no one was injured, said Mike Biggers, an amateur weather watcher who measured wind gusts of 34 and 38 mph. “I never heard that tree fall because the wind was so loud,” he said. “You couldn’t hear anything but that wind.”

Mike Biggers counted 103 rings in the oak, said his wife. “That old oak tree had served its purpose,” she said.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said 34 trees were reported fallen and blocking roads in the county Monday night and Tuesday morning.

City officials received reports of at least 11 downed trees plus numerous limbs scattered across the city.

“We had something from Kings in the north to Rifle Range Road (off U.S. 61 South),” said Whittington, adding that crews tackled Tuesday what they could not get to Monday night, including Alcorn Drive where a tree was knocked down by winds.

“We’re always out, no matter what the weather,” right-of-way foreman Doug Erwin said as he watched workers remove the tree in sections. “The only time we’re not out is if it’s thundering or lightning.”

“We came through pretty good,” Whittington said. “Outside of McAuley, we didn’t have any real serious problems.”

Emergency Management Director John Elfer said an unoccupied home in the 2100 block of Cherry Street was damaged when a tree fell, but no injuries were reported.

A meeting of the Vicksburg Board of Architectural Review was reportedly canceled for lack of a quorum because of a power outage at the home of a member.