SELKIRK — No injuries have been reported so far when a National Grid truck struck a utility pole around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 in Selkirk and caused a local power outage, said Bethlehem police.
Bethlehem Police Commander Adam Hornick said the incident happened at the intersection of Route 9W and Route 396; the National Grid truck had been hauling “oversized machinery” when it attempted to turn but it struck the pole and brought the power line down.
The incident has since led to road closures on Route 9W from Lasher Road to Thatcher Street, on Route 396 (Maple Avenue) from Thatcher Street to Route 9W, and on Route 396 (Bridge Street) from Lasher Road to Route 9W. Hornick said this has caused heavy traffic congestion in that area as Routes 396 and 9W “are the major intersection in Selkirk. … I would advise people to not drive around that area in the meantime.”
As the incident caused a power outage, Hornick said that National Grid later attempted to turn the power back on but “it potentially caused shortages in people’s breakers in their residences and these people heard popping noises in older breakers. Two residents reported an odor of smoke in their house.” He added that the Selkirk, Elsmere and Delmar fire departments responded to five calls in the area but no actual fire was discovered.
“As a result, National Grid has now shut off all the power in that area,” he said, also saying that first-day classes at the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk middle and high schools ended early. The school district’s website indicated that since National Grid “is unable to provide a timetable for power restoration,” early dismissal began at around 12 p.m., and parents and guardians were notified in advance; after-school activities were canceled too. School activities are still continuing at the two elementary schools.
National Grid spokesperson Virginia Limmiatis said as of 12 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, about 75 customers at a nearby trailer park are still without power. “At its peak, 1,300 customers were without power but throughout the day, we’ve restored them incrementally,” she said. “We have crews going door to door and working with customers to do restoration by hopefully early this afternoon.”
She added that National Grid has no further updates regarding the affected driver in the meantime.