UPDATE 2/3/14 @ 6:25 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – Snow came down quickly in parts of southern Ohio on Monday, causing a power pole to catch on fire and closing down a busy section of Ohio State Route 7 for more than six hours.
Route 7 reopened between SR 141 and 218 in Gallipolis about 12:30 p.m. Gallia County was one of several counties under a Level 2 snow emergency for most of Monday, meaning people were asked to stay off the roads unless it was absolutely necessary.
After the power pole caught fire about 5:30 a.m., crews worked to clean it up and repair the pole as quickly as possible so that drivers could continue through on Route 7.
“We were able to put the word out for the most part. They're using county roads and other alternate routes to get around this area,” Gallipolis Police Chief Clinton Patterson said. “As far as trucks go, we've been able to re-route them down Route 2, and everything seems to be going very smoothly.”
He added, “We've been very lucky this morning not to have any accidents or any crashes, but it slowed everybody down.”
Joey Darnbrough lives next to the pole that caught fire. He said it was a frustrating situation for him.
“For a couple hours it burnt, and then the pole fell and shut down the traffic and I couldn't get out of my driveway, so I was pretty much confined to home,” Darnbrough said.
He told WSAZ.com that his electric heat went out and that he had to miss a day of work because of the road closure.
“My boss came to get me and he couldn't get through to come get me,” Darnbrough said.
Darnbrough said that the section of Route 7 in front of his house was usually busy, but that it was “desolate” while it was closed.
“But now the traffic’s been bad, real bad, ever since the road opened back up,” Darnbrough said.
Making the decision to shut down the road was tough, Patterson said, but ultimately, it came down to safety.
“I still wouldn't recommend anybody driving until more of this snow's off the roads,” Patterson said. “If this is the best [option], then we do what we have to do.”
The road was shut down between State Route 141 and 218 for several hours.
The road reopened around 12:30 p.m. Monday.
Power should be restored to customers in the area.
Gallia County 911 says that downed line has knocked out power in the area. They say repairs will take 4-5 hours.
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