East Spencer power surge, downed lines damage residents’ appliances

  • Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:37 a.m.

EAST SPENCER — A power surge Thursday afternoon left some East Spencer residents with fried electronics and smoking appliances.

Paige Layne, a spokeswoman with Duke Energy, said Friday that anyone who suffered damage to these devices can file a claim at the company’s customer service number, 1-800-777-9898.

“If it’s damaged and we were responsible for it, meaning we did something to cause it, they can be reimbursed through a claim,” Layne said. “It basically covers the cost of the repairs.”

That money could be used to repair the damaged appliance or electronic device, or it could be put toward the purchase of a new one.

Amy Strucker, another Duke Energy spokeswoman, said the power company is still investigating the cause of the outage, and “the investigation will continue for several days.”

The power first blinked around 2:10 p.m. Thursday, Strucker said, and it went out completely in East Spencer and parts of Spencer from about 2:30 until 4:30 p.m.

A downed power line was reported at the intersection of North Long and West Pinetree streets at the same time as the surge.

Capt. Joshua Wyatt with the East Spencer Fire Department said he is waiting on Duke Energy to determine whether that may have caused the surge.

Delores Foxx, who lives on South Long Streat in East Spencer, said the electricity went out a little after 2 p.m. at her house. When it came back on around 5 p.m., “several things popped in the house.”

“The microwave started smoking, and the flat-screen TV in the bedroom wouldn’t work,” Foxx said. “I had washed some clothes in the washing machine, and when I went to put them in the dryer, it didn’t work.”

She said a few of her neighbors also reported broken appliances at their homes, and the town’s post office was having trouble with its computers.

Post office staff referred questions to the general manager of postal operations, who did not return a call for comment Friday afternoon.

Rita Foil, public information officer for the Rowan-Salisbury School System, said the surge affected six or seven breaker boxes at the school system’s Long Street administrative office. Staff members had to evacuate the building Thursday while repairs were made.

The surge also caused power to “blink” at North Rowan High School in Spencer and sounded its fire alarm.

Local fire officials said full power was restored to their own buildings around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, once the fallen line was repaired.

But even up to 5:30 p.m., Duke Energy was still reporting 830 Rowan County customers were without electricity Thursday — mostly in the East Spencer area. It’s not clear how many people in total lost power because of the surge.

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation; Facebook: facebook.com/Karissa.SalisburyPost

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