Gusts take down trees, wires

Dispatch, fire, police crews work nonstop as storm whips through Midcoast

Posted:  Monday, October 30, 2017 - 12:00pm
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ROCKLAND – Local dispatch barely stopped for breath during the worst of this morning’s storm that left thousands without power. 911 calls stacked one on top of each other, sometimes five calls waited as dispatchers directed fire, ambulance, and police crews to various problems.

The onslaught of reports to the local communications center began at 5:50 a.m. with Friendship Fire Department being dispatched to Timber Point Road for trees and wires down.  Union Fire headed to Miller Road at 5:57 a.m. for a tree down. Two minutes later, the same crew learned of a second tree down on the same road.

Trees fell on houses on Broadway in Rockland, as well as Hope Road in Lincolnville.

South Thomaston Fire and Ambulance assessed the injuries of a male who’d been electrocuted while checking his power box.

The caller reported that the male was “blown five feet back” by the electricity. Responders had initial difficulty getting to him due to downed trees in the roads, as well as power outages at the house.

St. George Fire and Rescue redirected a man back to shore who was trying to paddle out to a boat which had come free from its mooring.

The Coast Guard received a report of an unoccupied boat that beached.

In Rockport, most boats had been pulled from the water and tucked under the Goose River Bridge or beside Rockport Marine. The boats still in the water were bouncing and pitching on their moorings, with one losing its jib as it shred and ripped under gale-force winds.

According to Rockland Harbor Master Matt Ripley, two boats in the harbor went adrift. One, a vessel out of Owls Head, broke from its mooring and drifted to Stinson’s Point. The other, a lobster boat, relocated itself to the Littlefield Church in Rockland.

In Warren, a driver’s windshield broke when a wire came down on it. In Lincolnville, Route 52, four passengers were trapped in a car when a live wire fell.

Apparently, a state trooper came along and pushed the car out with his own car. “I don’t know that I’d do that,” said one firefighter, “but it seemed to work.”

Also in Lincolnville, a car was reported to have gone into a brook, though that call was later unfounded.

But on the Ducktrap Road, in Lincolnville, a man and his child traveling in their car were hit by a falling tree. They managed to self-extricate by the time firefighters arrived, but the car was shot. 

In Camden, some boats in the inner harbor were rolling hard, and boat owners were working fast to stabilize them.

Most of the boats had been pulled from the outer harbor. A car by the landing suffered when a pole fell onto it.

At times, routes 17, 105, 52, and as of 9:10 a.m., Westbrook Street in South Thomaston and North Shore Road in Owls Head have been closed.

Through it all, Union, Appleton, Hope, Washington, Cushing, Warren, Rockport, Vinalhaven and Lincolnville fire units chased constant reports of trees and wires down, sometimes calling upon neighboring towns to respond when road access wasn’t possible for emergency vehicles.

Doors blown open triggered security alarms. 

A generator caught on fire in Rockport.

Camden responded to downed trees, utility problems, carbon monoxide alarms and fire alarms. Firefighters and public works are now waiting for Central Maine Power crews to repair lines.

On Maverick Street in Rockland, Good Samaritans removed a tree by themselves. And somewhere, a car sustained damage from a falling tree and was left roadside briefly after a passerby cut up the offending timber.

And then there were the regular calls to dispatch – the traffic stops, the sick, the injured, the carbon monoxide detector malfunctions.

The wind will continue to blow, but shift around to the more conventional direction from the southwest.

Have storm photos? Send them to news@penbaypilot.com and we will add them to this gallery of Oct. 30, 2017 storm.