Stranded motorists, downed power lines keep rescuers jumping
It was the usual dose of stuck cars and downed lines for South Shore protective services during a storm that provided no mercy.
A power outage affected the El Dorado County Jail from 6 to 11 a.m. and would have hindered the South Lake Tahoe Police Department had it not been for a generator that kept electronics humming.
The outage closed the courts. Schedules were pushed back to today.
By 4 p.m. Monday, the police and fire dispatch had received 95 calls for service since midnight.
“We’ve been busy and you can anticipate it’s a traffic nightmare out there,” Sgt. Brian Williams said. “People are running through the intersection not knowing what the light is.”
When lights are out, every direction of travel is supposed to stop and treat the intersection like a four-way stop.
About six vehicles were stuck about the same time on Wildwood Avenue near Heavenly Ski Resort. Tow trucks had to bail the vehicles out.
Lake Valley Fire Protection District only had two calls; both regarding downed power lines. The South Lake Tahoe Fire Department was busier with downed trees and lines and a fire that damaged a trailer.
At noon the department received a call regarding a fire caused by an overloaded circuit breaker. Siare Keating, 16, saw smoke while talking on the phone to his father in a house several feet from the burning trailer.
Two engines, a command vehicle and ambulance arrived at the scene to douse small flames and remove smoke damaged materials. A burned red bike frame and melted videocassette recorder tapes laid among the blackened pile of furniture in front of the residence in the 3000 block of Markofer Way.
Keating’s $300 red Heavenly Ski Resort jacket was saved.
“I was thinking, ‘there goes my next paycheck,'” Keating said about the jacket.
California Highway Patrol officers had their hands full with spin-outs and non-injury accidents. New officers who arrived for the 3:30 p.m. shift change received calls immediately, said Officer Sherry Reehl.
“There’s nothing serious yet but it has been one thing after the other,” she said.
Mostly it was the downed power lines that kept firefighters busy.
SLTFD responded to about 10 calls. The danger, they said, was lines can electrify trees, fences and other objects that can become dangerous to the touch.
“Stay clear of all power lines and don’t walk across the street when power lines are down,” Capt. Sean Ward warned. All of the engines besides one has four-wheel drive and all have chains. Major snow makes maneuverability difficult and response time longer, said Capt. Brad Piazzo.
“I think it’s more of a challenging time for us,” Piazzo said. “It brings out the creativity in us. It causes you to adapt to the conditions around you and as this storm proves, those conditions can be quite severe at times.”
— Contact William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org
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