By TRAVIS HANDY
The heavy snow that rapidly fell early Thursday afternoon has contributed to several reported fires throughout the county this evening.
Fairlawn Fire Department responded to 6404 Spring Ave., Fairlawn, where heavy snow brought tree limbs in contact with a power line in front of a residence. The department responded with one piece of equipment and one other department vehicle.
Fairlawn Fire Chief Randy Miles said similar calls had been made all around the county. He said there is not much the fire department can do in such a situation, except wait and see whether the line will break or the fire will go out. The department left the scene after determining there was no threat to the residence.
Miles also indicated many trees and power lines were down, as well as many residents without power. He said these sort of calls are common when we experience a heavy, wet snow event such as this one.
Appalachian Power Company (APCo) is reporting 5,187 customers are without power in Pulaski County as of 7:30 p.m. Another 7,696 customers are reportedly without power in Wythe County; 5,248 in Montgomery County; 5,800 in Giles County; 1,829 in Floyd County; 2,401 in Carroll County, and 3,212 in Bland County.
Residents and motorists should be aware of the dangers of approaching downed trees and power lines. APCo advises anyone who encounters a downed line not to touch it or any other line near it; even telephone or cable lines can be energized. Call 911 or alert APCo at (800) 956-4237.
If a power line is touching your car, APCo says stay put and seek help. Honk the horn, roll down your window and yell for help or use your mobile phone. Make sure to tell passersby not to come near the vehicle.
If you are without power and using candles or other means requiring an open flame to light your home, use caution and do not leave open flames unattended due to risk of fire.