Afternoon Storm Brings Down Trees, Power Lines Across High Country, Two Die – Including Firefighter – in Wilkes

Published Friday, June 14, 2013 at 10:50 am
The storm yesterday evening brought down many large--3-4 feet wide--trees like this one that caused extensive power line damage. Linemen battled through the night and fresh crews are out this morning--along with fresh right of crews to assist. The storm yesterday evening brought down many large--3-4 feet wide--trees like this one that caused extensive power line damage. Linemen battled through the night and fresh crews are out this morning--along with fresh right of crews to assist. Photo courtesy of BREMCO

The storm yesterday evening brought down many large three- to four foot-wide trees like this one that caused extensive power line damage. Linemen battled through the night and fresh crews are out this morning–along with fresh right of crews to assist. Photo courtesy of BREMCO

By Jesse Wood

June 14, 2013. Two people in Wilkes County, including a volunteer firefighter, died after strong winds blew across North Carolina in a late afternoon storm on Thursday, causing huge trees to crash to the ground and fall on power lines and on one person.

Fallen trees were linked to both deaths.

Tony Barker, a member of the Mountain View Fire Department, was electrocuted after responding to the scene of a small fire, which occurred after a large maple tree fell across power lines on Traphill Road, according to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

The 36-year-old firefighter left behind a wife and 3-year-old son.

Shortly after that call was reported, a fork of a huge white pine tree fell on a 77-year-old man in his front yard, killing Maurice Kilby before emergency responders arrived to the home along Mountain Valley Church Road, the Wilkesboro newspaper noted.

Outages in Wilkes, which both Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and Duke Energy serve, started two hours earlier than Watauga and Avery.

BREMCO reported that outages began about 5 p.m. and were concentrated in Caldwell County, where 4,000 members were affected by the storm that brought down trees and broke several power poles. 

Mainly residing in the Bamboo and Tweetsie Railroad area, more than 2,000 Watauga County members were affected. Scattered outages affected Deep Gap, Hound Ears and Sherwood communities. Power was mostly restored in Watauga by 11:30 p.m. 

This morning, BREMCO sent out out a new release: 

“After working through the night battling large downed trees and power lines, fresh linemen and right of crews with Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation are working this morning to get electricity back to the remaining 113 members affected by yesterday’s storm.

Southern Caldwell County was the hardest hit. Crews are working to restore power to 69 members—primarily in the Mt. Herman Heights area.

In Watauga County, linemen are working to restore 43 members as well as one member in Avery County.”

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