18-wheeler crashes into utility pole, knocks out power to Longview Super 1

18-wheeler crashes into utility pole, knocks out power to Longview Super 1
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 10:12 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 8:31 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Power was knocked out at a Longview grocery store this morning.

It happened at the intersection of Birdsong and High streets around 7 am.

We’re told an 18-wheeler delivering a load of water struck a metal pole next to a power pole. The metal pole called a bollard was uprooted pulling apart wiring that powers the store. A small fire broke out but didn’t burn long enough to damage the power pole, so it wasn’t replaced. The power outage was confined to the store itself and didn’t affect the surrounding neighborhood. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured in the incident.

KLTV's Jamey Boyum takes a look at a power outage at Super 1 on High Street that was caused by a truck knocking over a metal pole.

Although Super 1 didn’t have power, they were able to stay in operation using a generator for the registers. The generator wasn’t big enough to power the whole store, so Super 1 brought in one that was, according to Mike Olson with East Texas Electric who was helping to get it running.

“We have about 40 different cords that we have to hook up and drag inside to the main switch gear,” Olson said.

So, it’s a bit more complicated than a cord to an RV.

“We have to take apart the entire feeders coming from the transformer, take all those wires out and replace them with the generator cable,” Olson said.

SWEPCO works on scene of utility pole hit by 18-wheeler

And according to SWEPCO External Affairs Manager Mark Robinson, their crew had three things to fix.

“We had to repair the riser on the pole which goes from overhead to underground, and we had to pull in new cables because those had been compromised as well, underground, and we also had to replace the transformer,” Robinson said.

He said underground lines are more time consuming to replace than overheads. Sometimes they connect the new line to the old one and pull it through.

“If the cable is older and they’re worried about deterioration or anything like that, then they’ll pull the lead rope in and then they’ll pull in off of that rope, they’ll pull in the new cables,” Robinson said.

He said if the line gets snagged, they may have to bore it out, a longer process. But the two crews worked side by side working to restore power. And then there was a problem with hooking up the generator.

“We ran out about 15 feet of cable,” Olson said.

So, they had to get more in Tyler.

“Hopefully he gets here in time because this was all pointless,” Olson said.

SWEPCO tied the rope to the line and started pulling it through the conduit. It went off without a hitch and came out the other side.

They installed the new riser and was connecting lines when, around 12:45 p.m., the generator came on, and so did Super 1. But it wasn’t really a race. SWEPCO said they take the time to do it safely and correctly. Denise Rogers had shopped in Super 1 before the power came back on and had one quick comment.

“It was dark,” Rogers said.

But it’s not anymore.

Mark Robinson said electrical lead wires for Super 1 will need to be disconnected from the generator and reconnected to SWEPCO’s grid. He expects that will happen this evening when the business is closed.