'It's a mess': Microburst downs power poles, knocks out power in north Phoenix

Many people are still in cleanup mode due to the significant damage Thursday night’s microburst caused.         

Meanwhile, APS crews are working to repair more than a dozen downed power poles in one north Phoenix neighborhood.

The microburst knocked down 16 power poles, leaving power lines mangled through street lights and trees. The damage spans about a mile along Shea Boulevard.

It’s not your typical day at the Verschoor’s house near 36th Street and Shea.

“It’s a lot of work… a lot of work,” said Richard Verschoor. 

They had to chop down a big mesquite tree, that was snapped by the powerful monsoon storm.

“It was kind of sad, because we planted it about 17-18 years ago,” he said.

Luckily, they got some help cleaning up.

“Some of our friends, relatives, one of our neighbors who we really didn’t even know that well is over here and they’re just cutting the tree up. My husband was so excited to buy a chainsaw for the first time,” Richard wife’ Jeanette said.

They’re one of 15,000 APS customers who were left without power at the height of the storm.

“That’s going to be a big job for them to get those poles out of the way,” she said. “It’s a mess.”

“The wind came up and the rain came up and then it blew everything down,” said Dean Rowland, who was also left without power.

“It was chaos for a while until some patrolmen got here,” he said.

In the 27 years of living in this neighborhood, he’s never seen a storm like this.

“Pretty bad,” said Rowland.

General Manger of Operations for APS Ted Geisler says this storm packed a punch.

“Short spurts of wind that are of hurricane strength magnitude,” he said.

Right now they have more than 100 people working on-site.

“We brought in crews from all around the state,” said Geisler. “We had folks driving in from Cottonwood, Prescott, down in Casa Grande to make sure that we had all hands on deck.”

Now truck loads of materials are on-site including steel poles which will replace the broken poles.

“We’ve got to dig new holes, put poles in, string wire across the top of the poles and then energize and get our customers back in service,” he said.

APS says Shea Boulevard will likely be closed for most of the weekend. It will take at least until Sunday to finish all the work, so road closures will be in place.

Just a few reminders from APS for when you spot a downed power line: Stay at least 100 feet back, always stay in your car, call 911 and then call APS.


© 2017 KPNX-TV


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