Broken utility pole to blame for Friday’s power outage at Hodgesville Elementary School

HODGESVILLE – Students at Hodgesville Elementary woke up to an unexpected pre-Christmas surprise Friday. The school was closed for students because of a power outage in the area related to a tree falling on a power line.

The outage lasted nearly 12 hours.

Upshur County Schools Curriculum and Facilities Director Tim Derico told My Buckhannon it was his understanding that the power in the Hodgesville area went off at about midnight on Thursday.

“The electricity issue was not resolved, and the power did not come back on in Hodgesville until Friday at about 11:40 a.m.,” Derico said. “The Hodgesville teachers reported to school, but the students did not.”

Derico said once school administrators realized there would be issues with serving breakfast and lunch as well as issues with not having enough adequate heat in the building, the decision was made to cancel school for Hodgesville Elementary School students.

“The heat was one of our bigger concerns,” Derico said. “Everything there is driven by electricity.”

He said originally, the first estimate was that the power to the area would be restored by 3:30 a.m.

“But that didn’t happen,” he said. “When they could not achieve that estimate, they said they were working to have power restored by 9 a.m. Fortunately, for us, the right decision was made to keep the students at home today. However, we were concerned that even with canceling school, students were still at home without heat as well.”

Derico said he hopes the day will not have to be made up.

“Honestly, I do not anticipate the Hodgesville Elementary School students will have to attend an extra day,” he said. “I think we will do our best within classrooms to recoup that lost instruction for students so they do not fall behind.”

Jeff Straight, spokesperson for Mon Power, said the outage in the Buckhannon, Hodgesville and Volga area was caused by a broken utility pole.

“The broken pole was caused by a tree,” Straight said. “It broke last night (Thursday) about midnight, and we had it restored by around 10:30 a.m. today (Friday). The reason it took so long is because crews had to cut a road down to where the damaged pole was due to the dense vegetation. Once the crews reached the pole, they were able to replace it quickly and safely.”

Straight said the power outage affected approximately 1,300 customers, which stretched from Buckhannon to Volga.

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