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Firefighters have busy night during windstorm

Weather a cause of downed power lines, falling trees and a serious crash
A windstorm with heavy rain knocked down trees and power lines in Langley Township, including part of this large tree on Fort Langley’s Glover Road. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Heavy rain and wind knocked down trees and took out power lines, keeping fire departments in Langley Township and Langley City busy from Friday night, Nov. 4, into the next day.

Andy Hewitson, Langley Township assistant fire chief, said the department activated its emergency operations centre to handle dispatch calls because Surrey, which usually handles calls for Langley, was swamped.

Township firefighters fielded 130 calls over that period, roughly four times the usual number.

“We had everything from a pretty serious car accident and a power line that came down and electrified a chain link fence,” Hewitson said.

“It was definitely busy.”

READ ALSO: Power outages and falling trees; wind storm rocks Langley

Weather was likely a factor in a head-on crash late Friday at 11:13 p.m. between two vehicles near 264th Street and 50th Avenue, where one vehicle ended up in a ditch, and three people were transported by ambulance to hospital, Hewitson said.

It was a long night for some crews.

“We had a couple of instances where crews remained on the scene [of downed power lines] overnight, because it wasn’t safe,” Hewitson explained.

“I want to thank the crews who spent the whole night out, protecting the public.”

Langley City also recorded an increase in calls, but not of the same magnitude as the Township.

City Fire Chief Scott Kennedy, described the night as “relatively calm” with a few downed power lines and a higher-than-normal number of fire alarm calls that proved to be false, possibly triggered by brief electrical outages “where the power went off, then went back on again.”

B.C. Hydro reported more than 30 areas and thousands of customers in Langley lost power overnight, with the largest outage affecting 2,085 customers in the area east of 240th Street, west of 276th Street, north of 30th Avenue, and South of 56th Avenue.

READ ALSO: Arctic chill, more snow for parts of B.C., following powerful weekend storm

Hydro said the windstorm cut service to about 330,000 customers.

The hardest hit areas included Surrey, Victoria, Nanaimo, Qualicum and Parksville.

BC Hydro said pockets of customers from Manning Park to the Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands were still without power Monday, following the weekend windstorm, while hundreds more homes and businesses in northern and central B.C. were without service.

Strong winds continue to buffet parts of coastal B.C. and the central Interior, packing gusts of at least 110 kilometres per hour along the north and central coasts, pushing wind chill factors in Terrace and elsewhere to -20 or lower.

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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