‘Big ball of fire’: St. Joachim resident watches hydro tower collapse in backyard

 
Originally published by CTV News Windsor
A St. Joachim resident is sharing her harrowing experience after heavy, wet snow caused a hydro tower to collapse into her backyard.

The snow that fell across Windsor-Essex was wet and heavy, taking down tree branches and hydro poles unable to support the weight.

Addie Laliberte has lived in her St. Joachim home for 60 years and she’s never had a problem there until Thursday night.

“I just said ‘Oh my God, I’d never seen something like this,”says Laliberte. “A big ball of fire. It went kaboom.”

Laliberte was on the phone looking out the window, when she heard a loud bang, followed by a bright light.

“I got shocked because a great big ball of fire went toward the window and I didn’t know exactly what it was,” she says.

Turns out, it was hydro wires snapping in her back yard.

“We had two steel towers come down and a third tower was damaged during the storm,” says Jay Armitage, Hydro One spokesperson.

It cut power to 3,000 homes.

“We worked quickly, all hands on deck to get power back,” says Armitage.

Hydro One says a situation like this is extremely rare.

The company has launched an investigation to find out what caused the steel towers to collapse, including their age.

Armitage says bad weather can certainly have an impact on infrastructure.

A crane will be used to lift the towers up and until a permanent solution is determined, hydro poles will be installed to get the hydro lines back in place.

Laliberte’s children helped her through the ordeal, setting up generators to keep her house warm overnight.

She she says it’s been a stressful experience admitting she always wondered what would happen if the towers did collapse.

Hydro One says it will work with Laliberte to cover the repairs to her shed free of charge.

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