Storms Bear Down in Pottstown and Pottsgroves

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – First responders from both the Ringing Hill and Sanatoga fire companies, Lower Pottsgrove police, and other emergency units spent Wednesday (June 3, 2020) handling fires, electrical problems, road obstructions, and alarm investigations, many caused by what the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety called “a line of powerful storms” that rolled through the area at mid-day.

A trained spotter in Pottstown, taking measurements for the National Weather Service in Mount Holly NJ, reported a maximum wind gust for the county of 76 miles per hour at 11:59 a.m., the department said.

Neighborhoods in and around the borough of Pottstown, and Upper Providence Township, lost electricity. People in those municipalities were among nearly 140,000 customers across the county left without power, the department said. Wires brought down by high winds were the source of some of those incidents, as were outside electrical fires.

Several long-term care facilities lost commercial power during the storm, and relied for hours on emergency generators. The department said it was coordinating assistance to affected facilities with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania. They also helped ensure the continued isolation of long-term care residents infected by COVID-19, despite any power interruptions.

Elsewhere in the county, the storms claimed the lives of three individuals. Two fatalities occurred in Lower Merion Township southeast of King of Prussia, and one in Lower Moreland Township near Willow Grove and the Bucks County line, the department added.

Property damage was widespread, according to the department. Emergency crews responded to several structure fires and many reports of trees that had fallen onto occupied buildings and vehicles.

Locally, dispatchers sent firefighters and fire police to two separate fires on Highland Road and King Street respectively, in Pottstown; one on Snyder Road in Upper Pottsgrove; three on Kenney Road, Sunnybrook Road, and North Adams Street, all in Lower Pottsgrove. Responders went as well to deal with a road obstruction on Bleim Road, and fire investigations or alarms at buildings on Kepler Road and Armand Hammer Boulevard, again in Lower Pottsgrove.

The county’s Emergency Communications Center received 1,537 calls for assistance in the one-hour period between noon and 1 p.m. For comparison, the center answers about 2,300 calls during an average 24-hour day.

Photo by George Hodan from Public Domain Pictures, used under a Creative Commons license