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Lightning strike turns out the lights

A lightning strike touched down in Penhold on the afternoon of June 24, causing power outages to about 2,000 electric customers.

A lightning strike touched down in Penhold on the afternoon of June 24, causing power outages to about 2,000 electric customers.

Jennifer MacGowan, a spokesperson for Fortis Alberta, said the lightning hit to the west of the Fas Gas Station and the railway tracks on Highway 592. She said the lightning hit a power line and affected two conductors. The power went out at about 1 p.m.

“Obviously it must have been a good one,” she said of the size of the strike, noting the number of outages caused.

She said about 1,900 Fortis Alberta customers were affected by the power outage.

“The majority of customers were back on by 2 p.m.,” she said. Another 70 were back online by 3:30 p.m., but another 12 customers were off even longer because a transformer had been affected by the strike.

About 100 Central Alberta Rural Electrification Association customers were affected by power outages according to Angie Barbas, area service administrator.

She said the power was out for their customers from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Four Penhold volunteer fire department trucks responded to the scene.

Fire chief Jim Pendergast said eight volunteer firefighters were on the scene for about five hours.

“We had to shut the highway down for awhile,” Pendergast said. This was because there were power lines on the road. The firefighters helped direct traffic once they reopened it to an alternating one lane formation.