Unlucky neighborhood: First to lose power, last to get it back


Much of Warren let out a sigh of relief Sunday when power started coming back online in the wake of Winter Storm Nemo. It took Overhill Road residents a little longer to celebrate a return to normalcy.

Nearly 72 hours after the street first lost power, power was finally restored — temporarily, anyway — at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, when subcontracted crews from Service Electric in Chattanooga, Tenn., finally flipped a switch and brought service back to the area. Power had been out since 3:37 p.m. Friday following a series of transformer fires and downed trees and utility lines.

"Thanks to the Chattanooga electric men!" said Overhill Road resident Jeremy Pelland, who lives with his fiance Chelsea and 95-year-old grandmother toward the top of the street.

Though all of Warren lost power for some time, Overhill was particularly unlucky. The power first went out at 3:37 p.m. Friday, five or six hours before the rest of Warren, when a transformer next to Luke's Inn caught fire and exploded. The explosion charred the top of the transformer's utility pole and knocked out power for good, but the area's electrical infrastructure took another knock later in the storm when a tree knocked over a utility pole further down the street, where the road takes a hard jog to the left.

And there it stayed. Even as neighborhoods came back online en masse Sunday, Overhill remained in the dark. Crews didn't even come in to start cutting up the fallen trees until Sunday afternoon, and an area of the street remains unplowed, with a large number of utility lines laying across it.

Crews started cutting up the trees and fallen power poles Sunday, and were on the scene all day Monday installing a new pole and working to re-wire the area.

Luke's Inn owner Ben Luk said crews told him that even if the temporary transformer works, it will only be a temporary fix and the area will lose power briefly again once it is taken off-line and replaced with a permanent new transformer and pole. But he's crossing his fingers.

"I hope so," he said, standing in the parking lot behind his darkened restaurant. "It's warmer out here than it is in there!"

Nor'easter Nemo


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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.