School zapped

By Dean Shipley

February 21, 2014

Can’t catch a break.

Though it was not “officially” a calamity day — London students sat in their classrooms for part of the morning — a lightning strike knocked out electrical power to the schools and students were dismissed Thursday morning, Feb. 20.

A current transformer took a direct lightning strike early Thursday morning, said Tim Suter, Ohio Edison spokesperson.

“It took out the circuit,” Suter said.

The circuit not only supplied electricity to the schools, but also to 642 customers, along state Route 38, Park Avenue and state Route 56 (Main Street) Suter said.

Thomas Ben, superintendent, sent a One Call Now message to parents at 9:55 a.m. Thursday, according to one of the parents, who has three children in London City Schools. The middle school and high school were dismissed at 10:15 a.m. Elementary students left the building at 11:20 a.m.

Suter said power was restored to the schools that morning. He said power can temporarily be re-routed around the current transformer, which belongs to the school and measures the electricity flowing thereto. Suter said based on records Ohio Edison can estimate the power usage until the new current transformer can be installed and brought online.

Suter said the outage shut off the electricity feed to residential customers, whose equipment should not have been damaged.

The Park Avenue Medical Building’s “A-phase” — which sends power to physicians offices and some computer outlets were out for approximately an hour and a half, said Julie Akers, spokeswoman for the Madison County Hospital and the medical offices. The outage caused some delays, but no loss of services. Ninety minutes after the outage, it returned to business as usual.

With the early dismissal of students, parents had to scramble to enact their own “plan B” for child care.

Transportation director, Jim Lattimer said transport of children went into an emergency mode.

By the time elementary school students were released, power to the buildings had been restored. The process, however, was already underway and could not be stopped.

The power outage also impacted St. Patrick’s School. Officials at the Catholic school decided not to close the building or cancel classes.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.