COCHISE COUNTY — Winds up to 65 miles an hour caused widespread damage to the Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative power grid late Monday and early Tuesday morning.
Reports of downed poles and damaged lines caused outages for members in Hereford, Sonoita, Elfrida and other locations throughout the SSVEC service area. Crews from Benson and Willcox were called in to help with the repair and restoration of downed power poles on Anderson Road and at the intersection of Hereford Road and Moson Road.
A total of 18 poles needed replacement after the storm, according to Nathan Hodges, SSVEC Chief of Operations.
“We had 13 poles in a row go down in Hereford at around 10:30 last (Monday) night,” Hodges said. “That required isolating the affected areas and rerouting power to most of our members living along that stretch, which took until around 3 a.m. on Tuesday.”
Damage to power lines and poles on Lenzner Avenue and on Fourth Street in Sierra Vista also required attention, though no outages were reported in Sierra Vista.
Members in the Sonoita area were out of power for about two hours Tuesday morning after strong winds damaged power lines. Hodges said crews needed to temporarily shut down power to about 145 members to make the repair.
Linemen responded around 9:30 p.m. Monday to a downed pole and power outage on Fort Huachuca. Crews were on the scene until around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
About 30 members were without power in Elfrida due to downed power poles, according to Mike Cook, construction and maintenance manager in Willcox.
Eight SSVEC members living along Hereford Road, west of Moson, were out of power for an extended time period due to the storm. Hodges said these members are served directly by the lines and poles in that area and rerouting power was not an option.
“We’ve got everyone working to replace those poles and repair the lines, but unfortunately, until that work is complete, all of those affected members are going to be out of power.”
Downed power lines were also blamed for a fire that sparked near Fort Huachuca Monday night.
“The Site Maverick Fire was sparked by power lines downed by high winds late last night,” the fort said on its Facebook page. “Fort Huachuca firefighters assisted by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Frye Fire, Douglas Hand Crew, Aravaipa Hot Shots and Whetstone Fire worked through the night and the morning, at times battling 60-70 MPH winds, to contain the blaze.”
A crew from SSVEC was onsite Tuesday afternoon to repair the damaged power lines, according to the post. “Firefighters are keeping a close eye on hot spots and conducting mopup operations. Thankfully, through their efforts in extremely hazardous conditions, no structures where damaged.”
The fire burned between 500 and 1,000 acres, according to the post.
In addition to the damaged power lines, reports of damaged fences, trees, windows, roofs, vehicles and much more were reported throughout Cochise County on Tuesday.