Power restored after Warren accident


A fallen utility pole caused quite a mess on Market Street Wednesday afternoon and evening, leaving customers without power, in a few cases, until 9 a.m. Thursday and closing the busy road for hours.

Warren police said a 2010 Toyota Highlander driven by Joseph Farias, 66, of Bristol, struck a National Grid utility pole at the intersection of Market Street and Schoolhouse Road at about 3:!5 p.m. The collision completely severed the pole near its base, and it fell into Market right at the Schoolhouse intersection.

“If it had happened 50 feet north, it would have been no problem,” Warren Police Lt. Roland Brule said. “But whenever you have an intersection of two major roads that are blocked off, you’re going to have problems.”

That’s what happened. The fallen pole, a junction where three separate lines converged, immediately cut power to about 400 National Grid customers, Grid spokesman David Graves said. Police trying to deal with the halted traffic enlisted help from the Warren Fire Department, which sent Fire Police to help detour traffic. Officers were stationed at Market Street and Birch Swamp Road, Birch Swamp and Schoolhouse roads and Kickemuit and Serpentine roads. Later, when National Grid arrived, the utility brought in paid detail officers to help with traffic control through the night.

The outage primarily affected electric customers on Schoolhouse and Market Street. Several hours after the accident police started allowing southbound drivers to pass; however, as late as 9 p.m. drivers headed north out of Warren were directed through the East Bay Collaborative parking lot to access Schoolhouse Road, then turned on to Birch Swamp Drive before getting back on Market near the Swansea Line.

Mr. Graves said a majority of customers were back with power at about 9 p.m., though crews stayed on the scene through much of the night to finish their work. The final four customers who spent the night without power had their service back by 9 a.m. Thursday.

Apart from the broken pole, the accident also took out a fire hydrant owned by the Bristol County Water Authority. Though the accident is under investigation, Lt. Brule said it appeared that Mr. Farias may have suffered from a medical condition that led to the crash. He told crews he was uninjured and declined transport to the hospital.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.