Downburst snaps power poles causing outage in record heat

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on July 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Updated Sunday, Jul 3 at 9:34 PM

PHOENIX -- Thousands of residents in north Phoenix lost power after a monsoon downburst  destroyed more than a dozen power poles.

Seventeen poles along 32nd Street between Greenway and Thunderbird roads were snapped like toothpicks and hurled onto fences and structures.

"Our distribution system can withstand winds of up to 60 miles per hour so for these poles to break like you've seen, it has to be pretty severe," said APS spokesperson Damon Gross.

Initially 1,500 APS customers were left in the dark, on a day that provided record-breaking heat.

One family was in their pool when the storm came through. Leanne and David Lesaffre say a pole landed on their fence and garage.

Businesses also had to send employees home.

Omar Arikat, owner of Village Liquor, said today was supposed to be a busy day due to the holiday weekend.  Arikat's store had been without air conditioning for the last two days. The air was turned on at 3 p.m. only to be lost again an hour later.

Fortunatley, the power to Arikat's business was restored a short time later.

APS says power was restored to all but two residential customers by 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

The power company is refunding customers for any ice or dry ice purchased during the outage. Customers are told to send receipts to the company for a refund.

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