Winds knock out power

A brief period of high winds wreaked havoc among electricity customers across Central Alberta late Thursday afternoon, including sparking a grass fire just outside of Markerville.

Spruce View volunteer firefighters await the arrival of Fortis Alberta linemen east of Markerville Thursday.

A brief period of high winds wreaked havoc among electricity customers across Central Alberta late Thursday afternoon, including sparking a grass fire just outside of Markerville.

Annette Gray, who lives southeast of the hamlet, said she had some nervous moments at about 5 p.m. when the wind knocked a spruce tree onto a power line. The line and some of the poles came down, generating a shower of sparks that lit the undergrowth on fire.

Spruce View and Red Deer County fire fighters were on the scene within minutes and were able to get the fire under control, although it did roar back to life at one point when the wind changed directions, said Gray.

By 6 p.m., the main fire was gone but there were still a few flare-ups in the undergrowth, she said.

Robyn Crawford, acting communications manager for Fortis Alberta, said 15 customers in the immediate area lost power as a result. Thirteen of the 15 homes were restored fairly quickly, but the line and poles that were knocked down had to be fixed before the other two homes could come back on, said Crawford.

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