sprague

Downed Power Lines Block Ambulance From Reaching Patient in Sprague

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Blocked roads from downed powerlines continue to cause issues for first responders. In Sprague, it stopped an ambulance from reaching a patient so the crew had to get out and walk.

It was an unusual scene on Church Street Friday afternoon: first responders were seen wheeling a stretcher down the road and pictures reveal why.

Three days after the storm, trees tangled with powerlines made it impossible for them to get an ambulance to the medical emergency.

“They advised the dispatch center that they needed Eversource on scene, priority one,” said Baltic Fire Engine Company No. 1 Chief Bob Tardif. “It was almost an hour before they said they could get there.”

With that, not including the time it would take to clear the mess, Tardif says his crew grabbed what gear they could and walked a quarter of a mile to the home. The crew says it delayed their response and the patient’s arrival to the hospital.

“If that would have been a structure fire, I wouldn’t have been able to get apparatus there,” said Tardif.

After that call, Eversource crews were seen parked on the road and Church Street was cleared. Nearby, Grandview Drive was still blocked Friday evening.

Karen Maerkle says someone with Eversource arrived that morning to take notes.

“They’re pretty slow in coming to help you out. This tree blocked the road, and a neighbor ended up pushing it,” said Maerkle.

On Thursday, Eversource said they’d responded to about 200 life-in-danger calls and that those get first priority. Regarding Friday's incident, Eversource said in a statement: “As soon as we learned about it, we escalated the call and got resources to that area.”

Over the last few days, several towns have expressed outrage, saying it took over an hour for Eversource to respond to people trapped in a car with wires down.

“I really feel that their lack of preparedness played heavily into why we’re at where we’re at right now,” said Tardif.

Maerkle, who continues to wait for her road to clear, says she worries every day about a fire and if there’s enough room for an emergency vehicle to get through.

“What do you do? Do you take the chance of electrifying your own membership, your own people, that are responding?” said Tardif.

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