Big storm caused havoc throughout town

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The storm that blew into Olds this past Wednesday and Thursday (May 24 and 25) ripped out power to thousands of customers, blew down trees ñ including one that hit the town office — and deluged the community with rain and winds which were predicted to hit 75 to 100 kilometres an hour in some areas.

The power outage, attributed to a tree that fell on a power line west of town, occurred at about 4 p.m. and affected about 5,000 customers. Power was completely restored by about 7 p.m.

ìMore than 300 crew members mobilized from across our service territory have been working around the clock to restore power to all customers as quickly as we can do so safely,î FortisAlberta manager of corporate communications Alana Antonelli said.

ìWe thank everyone for their patience.î

Acting fire chief and Town of Olds chief operating officer Scott Chant described the storm as ìinteresting.î

ìThe community was doing fairly well until mid-afternoon,î he said in an email. ìThankfully there were no reported injuries as a result of the storm.î

Trees were blown over, including a big one in the 4700 block of 50th Street.

In the southwest corner of town, a couple of grain bins were blown over. Chant said trampolines were blown over too.

Public Works employees moved the trees out of the way when they found them, then got back to them the next day.

ìEmployee safety was number 1, so we moved trees off the road so they were not a hazard to traffic, but crews did not stay out in the weather to cut them up,î Chant said.

The Olds Fire Department began getting calls about trees falling down ñ some on power lines ñ at about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

ìThe town office also suffered its share of issues as a large tree at the rear of the building came down and striking the building,î Chant said Thursday. ìToday, a tree company has come in to deal with the trees and upon review, the rest of the trees are in danger of falling so they are being removed.î

Town crews spent Thursday cleaning up branches, trees and other debris.

“Thankfully there were no reported injuries as a result of the storm.”SCOTT CHANT ACTING FIRE CHIEF,TOWN CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

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Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.