Explosions caused by massive Prince George power surge - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Explosions caused by massive Prince George power surge

A massive power surge caused dozens of power meters to explode in Prince George Tuesday, after a car slammed into a power pole near Route 10.

The pole snapped in five places, sending high voltage Dominion wires crashing down onto lower voltage wires owned by the Prince George Electric Cooperative. The incident caused more than 450 homes to lose power, with some houses still in the dark more than 20 hours after the crash.

"I just need the power back on for my mom," said Prince George resident Tabatha Lipford in an interview Wednesday. "She's in hospice care here with us, and our home back-up generator is powering what we need."

The surge spread after 9 p.m. Tuesday, when residents of the Jordan on the James subdivision reported a flash, followed by a series of deafening explosions.

"It sounded like a hand grenade going off," said Bert Duckwall. "It was that grenade sound not one, but three times. It's something I haven't heard since I was over in Vietnam during the War."

There is no timeframe for complete power restoration, because several power meters have been burned beyond repair and need to be replaced.

"Even when we restore power, if the power meter to your home is fried, you still won't have power," said M. Dale Bradshaw, CEO of Prince George Electric Cooperative. "We're going door-to-door to meet with homeowners, and help them determine what needs to be repaired."

As the outage continued after sunset, 50 homes were reported without power. Homeowners could face damages totaling thousands of dollars, as costs mount to replace circuit breakers, electronics and appliances without surge protectors.

The power pole and transformers have been replaced, but condition of the driver involved in the accident was not immediately released.

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