Most power restored but storm cleanup continues

Jul. 15—GREENVILLE — As dawn broke Wednesday, people throughout Mercer County toiled in their yards cleaning up the aftermath of Tuesday’s ferocious thunderstorm that, at its height, left 5,000 Penn Power customers without electricity.

Richard Fisher, who lives on Shenango Street in Greenville, said the power outage was the least of his concerns concern.

The storm toppled a neighbor’s huge maple tree onto his home, causing major damage. A tree-removal contractor at the house estimated the tree weighed more than 10 tons. It took a crane to lift the tree off the house.

“I’ve told the borough (of Greenville) for years that this tree was a danger and that it could kill someone,” he said. “They told me the tree wasn’t their responsibility.”

Fisher said he and his four siblings, who live elsewhere, jointly own the home inherited from their late mother.

On the same street, a tree limb fell crushed a car. It wasn’t immediately known who owned the car.

The storm began pounding the area around 3 p.m. Tuesday. No reports of serious water damage surfaced, and Mercer County 911 said it had no injury reports. But there were howling winds that downed trees, and branches tore into electric lines and snapped utility poles. That slowed Penn Power’s work, because the trees and branches had to be removed before before repairs could begin.

By 4 p.m. Wednesday, Penn Power had reduced the number of Mercer County customers without electricity to less than 300.

“Mercer County was the hardest-hit area within our service territory, and the widespread tree damage bought down many of our power lines,” Lauren Siburkis, a Penn Power spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon. “We have more than 50 line workers from our sister utility, Ohio Edison, and contractor crews assisting our crews with restoration, and we expect to have the majority of affected customers back up and running this evening.”

Penn Power serves more than 52,000 Mercer County customers among 160,000 customers in all of Mercer and Lawrence counties and sections of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Crawford counties.

There was a bright spot for Fisher.

He said his house was unlivable but was grateful his employer, Anderson Coach and Travel in Sugar Grove Township, paid for a hotel room for him to sleep. Throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday, Fisher said he got calls from fellow employees checking on his situation and offering their help.

“I’m overwhelmed with how much good there is in people,” he said.