Some Time Warner customers lose service in Amsterdam

About 300 city residents were without power for most of the day Tuesday after a tree knocked down po

About 300 city residents were without power for most of the day Tuesday after a tree knocked down power lines along Vrooman Avenue.

The downed lines not only caused power outages, but the sparks from the live wires destroyed Time Warner Cable fibers, so Time Warner customers were without cable, Internet and telephone service for most of Tuesday as well.

The live wires in the street caused “significant” damage to a vehicle and numerous electrical problems in homes, according to Amsterdam Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Whitty. The tree fell around 9:30 p.m. Monday, Whitty said, and the department received 12 calls for electrical problems in about six minutes.

The worst problem came from a home on Vrooman Avenue that had a small fire in the basement that started in the electrical box, Whitty said.

The fire was put out quickly and contained to the basement. No one was injured.

Whitty said it appeared the tree fell from erosion on the steep hill brought on by Monday’s heavy rains.

“The tree was healthy and it was a really large tree,” he said.

Power outages were mostly contained to the Fourth Ward. Most businesses in the ward seemed to be unaffected by the power outage Tuesday, but Dunkin’ Donuts on Church Street was closed because of it.

Vrooman Avenue was closed for most of the day Tuesday from East Main Street to Bartlett Street while crews worked to replace the lines.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said most of the power was restored by 6 p.m. Tuesday, but between six and 10 customers along Vrooman Avenue would be without power for longer unless National Grid could get an electrician to their homes.

The downed wires caused an electrical overload in those customers’ homes, which caused significant electrical damage, Stella said.

Other homeowners experienced damage to their meters, he said. National Grid crews were checking and replacing meters and other damaged infrastructure all day Tuesday.

Jeff Unaitis, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable in Upstate New York, said he didn’t know how many customers were affected.

He said workers could not begin to repair the fibers until National Grid crews were cleared from the scene.

Time Warner also had to call in specialty technicians to splice the fibers that were “thinner than a human hair.”

Time Warner crews were on the scene since midnight Tuesday. Service was expected to be restored by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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