Crash brings down utility poles, cuts power to dozens in Ridley Twp., Pa.

RIDLEY TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- More than a hundred people spent much of Monday without power in Ridley Township, Delaware County.

Utility repair crews hovered over South Avenue for much of the day as residents and emergency crews worked to keep cool in the sweltering heat.

"It's the hottest day of the year," said Joe Matlack. "You figure something was going to go wrong."

Officials said a box truck hit sagging utility lines near Grand Avenue after 9 a.m., snapping three poles and initially knocking out power to 600 customers.

Peco restored electricity to all but a hundred within an hour.

"Due to the heat, we started evacuating buildings," said Holmes Fire Company Assistant Chief Mark Hackney. "We had a daycare and school, and we're in the process of evacuating seven apartment buildings."

One person was taken to an area hospital for heat-related symptoms.

The Divine Providence Day Center sent home its 250 special needs clients for the day.

Jennifer Hrehocik and her family were among several residents who evacuated to a shelter at the Ridley High School cafeteria.

"We're traveling with my grandmother, who's on oxygen," said Hrehocik. "So it was nice to come and hook her oxygen machine up and stay cool with her."

At the scene, emergency crews beat the heat with misting fans, lots of water and breaks inside an air conditioned SEPTA bus.

It's unclear what caused the wires to sag, but officials say a township road crew was on the scene at the time removing a fallen branch.

Lines fell on their backhoe.

Peco told Action News power was expected to be restored to the remaining customers by 9 or 10 p.m. Monday.
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