Day After Storm, Update From Spokane

Jul 24, 2014

Of the roughly 70,000 customers who lost power in the Inland Northwest Wednesday, about 20,000 homes and business are still in the dark. Even with all available crews at work, that’s the combined total from Avista Utilities and Inland Power and Light.

 Both agencies urge residents to use their company websites for estimates on restoration times. Avista spokesperson Laurine Jew says there are 35 power distribution lines down in Spokane and Deer Park, and 25 transmission poles, which can each take between 6 and 14 hours to replace.
Website estimates put most urban areas back on-line by Saturday, but Jew says rural areas around the town’s of Chattaroy and Sandpoint pose difficulties.
Jew: “We’ll need to actually cut down trees in order to even get equipment in, to be able to make the repairs that we need. So some of those real remote areas are just going to take longer, and we’re asking customers to be patient.”
Weather caused damage in some areas, like near Chattaroy where 40 homes were damaged by falling trees at a mobile home park. The Spokane Fire Department says one home caught fire apparently from a lightning strike, and many others were nailed by trees and falling power lines.
Two unexpected factors have emerged. For one, garbage collection. The city of Spokane trucks can’t access some areas of north Spokane yet. The Spokane Police Department says another issue is scammers. Local business are getting calls from someone claiming to be with Avista, and asking to collect money from an outstanding bill.
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio