Sawyerville hit hard by storms

Sawyerville hit hard by storms

3 9 17

Just as predicted, a line of severe thunderstorms moved through Macoupin County after midnight March 7. While most areas were relatively unaffected, residents of Sawyerville woke up to significant structural damage, as well as dozens of downed trees, branches and power lines.

District 7 firefighters, along with Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance Service, were called to rescue a man who was trapped in a camper that had been blown over by the wind. Firefighters were able to extract the man from the camper. He was then transported to an area hospital with only minor injuries.

Although the only reported tornadoes in the area occurred over in Montgomery County, many Sawyerville residents, such as Sandy Ondo, suffered so much property damage that they believe a tornado was the cause. The storm blew the roof off Ondo’s storage building, and winds were strong enough to flip an old wooden wagon onto its back.

According to Macoupin County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Pitchford, the area was inspected on March 4, the results of which were not available prior to press time.

The Obertino property on Route 4 also suffered extensive damage. “We had a lot of damage but we are grateful that all is replaceable and no one was hurt.  My grandkids will not be able to go barefoot forever with all the small pieces of glass and lexon distributed through our yard,” said Pat Obertino.

Jennifer Carter, who lives just south of Fisher Avenue, said, “Just very thankful my house and property are OK.”

Several utility poles along Route 4 between Fisher Avenue and Old Route 4 were either broken or seriously damage, leaving much of the area without power. Route 4 was closed south of Fisher Avenue most of the day Tuesday so repairs could be made.

According to Ameren, as of 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, 102 out of 103 Sawyerville residents were still without power. Wilsonville didn’t fare any better with 279 out of 280 customers in the dark. In Benld, 46 out of 916 customers were without power. Within Gillespie’s zip code of 62033, which includes Dorchester, 99 out of 2,460 customers remained without power Tuesday afternoon. In fact, as of 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, 2,041 Macoupin County Ameren customers were without power, more than in any other county in the state at that time.

Ameren crews, working through the day, were able to reopen Route 4 south of Sawyer by 6 p.m. and most electric customers were by in service by 7 p.m.