The residents of the 5900 block of Fourth Street South in South Arlington could finally get into and out of their houses Wednesday night without dodging downed power poles or crawling under drooping electric lines.
Dominion Virginia Power sent a North Carolina-based crew Wednesday to the street just off Carlin Springs Road and they removed the poles and wires from residents’ front yards.
“They are here in full force. You should see them. So many huge trucks!” Colleen Coyne texted a Washington Post reporter.
Coyne and her neighbors heard a huge, old oak tree fall just after the Friday night storm passed through the greater Washington area. Hours later, they were awakened to the sound of power poles crashing down. The tree’s weight pulled down the poles, transformers and multiple power lines, and snapped in half one pole that dangled mid-air at the corner of Fourth and Carlin Springs. The debris landed in their front yards and on their vehicles.
The neighbors on the even side of the block lost power but it wasn’t until Saturday morning that they realized they were trapped. They began calling Dominion that day but had no luck getting a commitment from telephone operators. In desperation, they began calling everyone they could think of, insisting that they were willing to wait for the return of their electricity but they shouldn’t be waiting days for the lines to be removed.
An Arlington County parks crew arrived Monday and removed the giant oak tree. To the residents’ gratitude, the crew also lifted the wires off cars and trucks long enough for people to move them. But removing the poles and wires permanently was up to Dominion. Another work crew which arrived that day to remove a cable line from Carlin Springs Road, just at the corner of the one-block street, would not take action on the Fourth Street South dilemma.
The power lines hung between one and four feet from the ground on a block where 11 children live. Residents said the power lines posed a danger, even if they did not appear to be live.
Dominion Virginia Power called Coyne back Tuesday, an hour after The Post inquired about the situation. The representative wouldn’t promise when work would begin, but he assured Coyne that the utility was aware of the situation.
The crews appeared at midday Wednesday. By 7:50 p.m., the poles were back up and the power wires restrung. There’s no power to the homes yet, but Coyne and her neighbors are relieved the hazards were removed.