MATTAWAMKEAG – More than 60 staff and pupils at Dr. Carl E. Troutt Elementary School got a day off Thursday thanks to a fallen tree that took out two utility poles and deprived the school of electricity and other utilities, SAD 67 officials said.
Six Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. workers on four utility trucks and a Fairpoint New England Telephone Co. worker were still restoring utilities to the school at about 4 p.m.
But Michael Lambert, the school system’s director of operations, was confident that the school would reopen today.
“It’s not all fixed at this point, but it is probably within 30 minutes of being finished,” Lambert said Thursday. “They will just have to do a cleanup from the limbs and that sort of stuff tomorrow.”
The school’s telephone and cable services were restored, and workers were finishing repair of the electrical lines, he said. Cable television and computer service lines likely would be transferred to the new utility poles today.
The incident began for school officials when a school worker reported at about 5 a.m. that the tree had fallen onto utility lines and snapped the two poles, which were very old and worn, Lambert said.
He suspected that the tree came down in high winds or a wind storm overnight Wednesday. The fallen tree also tripped several circuit breakers.
The crews arrived shortly thereafter and began work. They had a big job, Lambert said, hauling in two new utility poles and putting the wires and three electricity transformers the school requires onto the new poles.
“They were very quick to respond. They did an excellent job,” he said.
It’s not unusual, Lambert said, for such accidents to occur. Utility wires at Ella P. Burr School were taken out by a tree in July.
But it is unusual to see a school closed for a day. He said he did not believe that pupils would have to make up the lost day, but referred comment to school system Superintendent Michael Marcinkus.
Marcinkus did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment on Thursday.
About 53 pupils attend Troutt. SAD 67 serves Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag.