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Downed tree triggered Duffield fires

Wes Bunch • Jul 19, 2013 at 11:31 AM

DUFFIELD — Appalachian Power Co. officials said a tree blown over by Wednesday’s storms was to blame for downing a power line that sparked a five-structure fire in Duffield.

Appalachian spokesman Todd Burns said the tree brought down a 12,000-volt distribution line that is used to power the Duffield Industrial Park. Appalachian work crews were dispatched to the scene shortly after the incident and began working on repairs and safety precautions immediately, Burns said.

The downed power lines caused five structures to catch fire Wednesday evening as powerful storms began rolling through the region. Crews from volunteer fire departments in Duffield, Gate City, Weber City and Fort Blackmore spent over four hours battling the blazes.

Duffield fire officials said the power line charged the ground near the structures, which in turn sparked the fires. Three firefighters were shocked during the initial response, but were reportedly uninjured.

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