In Bennington and surrounding communities, firefighters and utility workers were kept busy through the early hours of the morning responding to trees falling across power lines – and causing trouble.
As the winds started picking up in earnest last night, calls started going out on Bennington-area emergency scanners. One took Bennington firefighters up to the Route 9 highlands in Woodford to Axel Spika’s homestead, where a wind-whipped tree caught fire.
(Spika) "Just the wind – just been looking outside since I came home from work, and the pine trees kept on leaning and leaning. I just saw a tree go on the wire and I saw sparks, and that was it."
Standing in the blowing rain as firefighters from The Bennington Rural Fire Department inspected the power lines, Spika seemed almost apologetic for making the call. But there was smoke in the air, and Assistant Fire Chief Ken Goings said he did the right thing.
(Goings) "What’s happening right now is the trees are laying up against a line and it’s arcing and its just starting to burn the tree a little bit, so we just have to stay here until the power dies, or a crew comes in and fixes it. Every storm that comes in you usually get something like this."
And as the fire fighters were on the way to Spika’s house, two more Route 9 calls came in. And once the Green Mountain Power crews arrived and the firefighters could get back down to Bennington, the calls kept coming.