LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – It’s all hands on deck this evening as a late afternoon storm blew into Campbell County knocking down trees and knocking out power.
La Follette Public Works Director Casey Boshears said, “It’s going to be a long night. We have crews out, and LUB has its folks out working to restore power. Boshears says that Loop Road is shutdown, and if folks don’t have to be out to please stay in.
At 6:45 pm, more than 3,700 (at 7 pm) LUB customers were without power. The hardest hit outage areas are Old Highway 63 through Red Ash, Royal Blue and Titus Hollow, primarily up the west side of I-75, coupled with major outages in the area around Flat Hollow Road and Old Middlesboro Highway.
An update at 7:15 pm: More than 1,000 LUB customers are now back online with now around 2,700 customers still without power.
LUB General Manager Kenny Baird issued this statement to WLAF just moments ago. “We are currently experiencing a large number of outages throughout our service territory. There are nearly 3000 customers without electricity at this time. Our phone lines are busy with calls. If you cannot get through to report your outage – we apologize. However, you can report your outage by using LaFollette Utilities’ mobile app (available in the Apple Store and Google Play Store). We are working hard to restore services as quickly and safely as possible.”
Baird adds, “It will be no doubt be at least tomorrow before we get all power restored.”
The La Follette Fire Department was called to a home on West Walden Street just after 6:30 pm. The power box on the back side of the home was reported to be on fire. A tree was reported to have fallen on a house on East Prospect Street.
WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood said, “Trees are down left and right all over Bethlehem and Lynch Hollow Roads.” Underwood notes that people are stopping and cutting up trees and getting them out of the road while others are dragging trees out of the way with their tractors.
“We have 25 or more trees down. That’s mainly up the valley around Cross Valley and Doaks Creek Roads; mainly in the Eastern portion of the county, “said Campbell County Road Superintendent Ron Dilbeck.
WLAF listeners are calling in reporting lots of trees down on Jellico Highway on the North side of La Follette. Calls have also come in detailing several trees on the ground and on power lines on Old Middlesboro Highway.
Reports of a tree down on West Hemlock Street in La Follette along with utility lines down near the Ford Town Baptist Church were radioed in by La Follette Police Officers. Also in La Follette, a tree is over a power line on Claiborne Road right before the High Knob Road split.
The SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING expired at 6 pm. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/31/2020-6:50PM)