2010-09-17 / Front Page

High Voltage Horror

Bulbs Explode, Appliances Fry!
By Howard Schwach
Ahigh-voltage wire high above Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 136 and Beach 137 Street came down early Sunday afternoon, taking down a number of low-voltage wires and causing a power surge that permanently burned out dozens of appliances, and a myriad of other electrical devices, while exploding light bulbs all over the neighborhood.

Sparking and smoking high-voltage wire touch the street in front of 136-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Howard Schwach. Sparking and smoking high-voltage wire touch the street in front of 136-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Howard Schwach. “We’re not sure why the high-voltage line came down,” said Vanessa Baird-Streeter, a spokesperson for the Long Island Power Authority. “We are investigating the original failure, but the surge caused a problem for the homes in the proximate area.”

The wire fell in front of 136-15 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, but homes from Beach 136 Street to Beach 140 Street were without power for about two hours while LIPA crews worked to correct the problem.

Dozens of locals lined the boulevard in the pouring rain, staring at the fallen wire, which was still sparking and smoking twenty minutes after it came down.

Many residents, particularly those on Beach 136 Street, however, faced the horror of popping bulbs and blown-out appliances and electrical equipment.

John Musumeci, who lives on Beach 136 Street, said that he and his wife were standing in the kitchen when all of the light bulbs in the ceiling fan above them literally blew up.

“There was glass all over the place,” he said. “It was frightening.”

Musumeci told The Wave that his refrigerator, his microwave oven and his central air conditioning unit are beyond repair.

“We also lost two television sets, four ceiling fans and several telephone sets,” he added.

A young boy who was at the scene at about 3:15 p.m. on Sunday said that his DVD player and his game console “popped” and then started smoking.

Baird-Streeter said that anybody who lost electronics can go to the company’s website and download a claim form.

Musumeci said that he had already done so and was just waiting for a final check of his air conditioning system to submit the form.

Some residents say that the forms are not enough. They want LIPA to send representatives to their homes to verify the damage.

“They are asking for receipts for everything, and some of my stuff is ten years old,” one neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said. “They want me to bring my television set to Hempstead so they can verify that it was blown. I can’t do that. Why can’t they send workers to the houses that were hit by the surge to check out what they lost? How can anybody bring a refrigerator to Hempstead?”

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