High winds knock down trees, power lines across Franklin County

A small fire was caused by downed wires on Legate Hill Road in Charlemont on Thursday morning.

A small fire was caused by downed wires on Legate Hill Road in Charlemont on Thursday morning. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 02-29-2024 5:43 PM

Strong winds throughout Franklin County toppled dead and dying trees on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, knocking out power and leaving some roads blocked.

According to data from the National Weather Service, winds reached speeds as high as 47 mph. The fallen trees that resulted and took down power lines left power companies having to cut off electricity to the affected areas, dispatch crews to remove the fallen trees and proceed with repairing the wires.

As of Thursday morning, the outage map for National Grid’s service area showed 321 outages affecting a total of 5,618 customers. Among the Franklin County communities listed on Eversource’s outage map, Colrain (174), Conway (102) and Greenfield (275) experienced the most significant impact, while other towns faced smaller clusters of outages.

Conway Fire Chief Robert Baker noted that due to rain on Wednesday night, none of the fires sparked by trees hitting power lines spread beyond the immediate area of impact. He commended the swift response of the power companies to the scene.

Reports of power outages began around midnight and persisted until daybreak, according to Baker.

In Conway, Shelburne Falls Road, Main Poland Road, Newhall Road and Mathews Road remained closed as of Thursday morning.

Shutesbury Fire Chief Leonard Czerwonka reported that four or five trees fell in his town, causing outages and road closures. Parts of Wendell Road, West Pelham Road, Pratt Corner Road and Shore Drive were still closed on Thursday morning.

“Dealing with the wires makes cleanup challenging,” Czerwonka remarked.

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In Charlemont, after repairs were made to the wires, the top of one utility pole caught fire on Legate Hill Road. The Fire Department promptly responded to extinguish the fire. Additionally, a few roads were closed due to fallen trees.

“We’ve had a couple of roads closed,” Charlemont Fire Lt. Ryan Martin said. “We’re working hard to reopen everything.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at blevavi@recorder.com.