Sleet storm dam­ages pow­ertele­phone lines: 1949

The Amherst News - - OP-ED - Pat Crowe Pat Crowe is a mem­ber of the Springhill Her­itage Group. To learn more or read past ar­ti­cle of the Her­itage Cor­ner, visit www.springhill­her­itage.ca.

Re­ports from March 17, 1949:

More than 400 tele­phones in the Springhill Tele­phone Ex­change were dam­aged and over 100 poles were done fol­low­ing the sleet storm Fri­day and Satur­day which to­tally dis­rupted long dis­tance ser­vices and put nearly half the lo­cal tele­phones out of or­der. It is ex­pected that tem­po­rary re­pairs will get the whole sys­tem back into op­er­a­tion by Satur­day night, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment given to the Record by Mr. Clyde Dickie who is in charge of the lo­cal sys­tem.

Toll Lines Work­ing

Five con­struc­tion crews and two ca­pa­ble crews were rushed to Springhill from Hal­i­fax, New Glas­gow and Truro, and by Sun­day the toll lines were work­ing again af­ter tem­po­rary re­pairs had been af­fected. The crews work­ing on the toll lines ex­pe­ri­ence great difficulty in work­ing on the Westch­ester Moun­tain and at Wind­ham where the roads had drifted in and the ser­vices of the govern­ment snow­plow had to be se­cured be­fore re­pairs could be car­ried out. The lines­men, how­ever, were pleased with the Co­op­er­a­tion given them by the High­way Depart­ment in open­ing the roads.

The Lo­cal Sit­u­a­tion

The lo­cal ser­vice is still badly dis­rupted, but it is ex­pected that ser­vice will be fully re­sumed by Satur­day evening. Over 1000 feet of ca­ble had to be re­placed on Vic­to­ria Street. On top of the hills the poles went down like nine pins un­der the ter­rific load of ice. Fallen trees added to the strain of the wires and poles and caused a great deal of dam­age.

On the Her­rett Road cit­i­zens re­ported tear­ing their phones from the wall as fire broke out in the coil due to the power lines foul­ing the tele­phone wires. While this sit­u­a­tion is dan­ger­ous, Mr. Dickie felt that as soon as the coil burned out, giv­ing off clouds out smoke and a strong odor, the dan­ger had passed.

Of­fi­cials Here

Among the Com­pany of­fi­cials who were in Springhill dur­ing the week were Mr. G. Star­rett, Gen­eral Plant Man­ager, Hal­i­fax; Mr. S. Fred­er­icks, Gen­eral Su­per­in­ten­dent of Main­te­nance for Nova Sco­tia; M.L. Wood­side, Dis­trict Plant Su­per­in­ten­dent; John Boyd, Sec­tion Fore­man, sec­tion fore­man, re­mained in Springhill to su­per­vise the work.

Power Lines Down

The power lines also suf­fered se­vere dam­age dur­ing the sleet storm and Man­ager Wm. Pippy told the Record that about a dozen poles were down in the town and about 20 in the ru­ral dis­tricts of Le­ices­ter and Wind­ham. Fall­ing trees added greatly to the break­ing of the lines. Ser­vice, said Mr. Pippy was quite nor­mal again by Sun­day evening, and it was ex­pected that street light­ing would be fully re­sumed by to­day in all sec­tions.

Ex­tra Crews Here

Two ex­tra crews were rushed to Springhill to help cope with the storm. One large con­struc­tion crew is still here but it was ex­pected their work would be com­pleted by to­day or Fri­day.

Com­ment­ing on the storm, Mr. Pippy ex­pressed the opin­ion that the dam­age to the lo­cal sys­tem would cost be­tween three and five thou­sand dol­lars. He felt it was the worst sleet storm he had ex­pe­ri­enced since com­ing to Springhill in 1947. His first ex­pe­ri­ence was on May 1st, 1947, the af­ter he took over his du­ties here, when a sleet storm tied up the town. He spoke highly of the man­ner in which his men car­ried out re­pairs un­der dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, work­ing twelve hours a day and con­tin­u­ing through Sun­day without a let up un­til ser­vice was re­sumed through­out the town.

Apr. 23, 1949 – Ira Mills’ Boat Re­ported Safe

Many friends and rel­a­tives in Springhill and vicin­ity were very re­lieved when word came to Springhill, Fri­day af­ter­noon, that the small fish­ing boat in which Ce­cil York and Ira Mills were crew men was sighted in Mi­nas Basin af­ter be­ing re­ported be­ing lost. The boys left Har­ring­ton River early Thurs­day morn­ing and didn’t re­turn when ex­pected. A search party was started early Fri­day morn­ing and their boat was spot­ted by an R.C.A.F. plane. En­gine trou­ble and off-shore winds had pre­vented the boat from mak­ing shore.

Ira is well known in Springhill be­ing the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Mills, Val­ley Road. Al­though be­ing very cold, wet and hun­gry af­ter their un­ex­pected long stay at sea the men were none the worse for their ex­pe­ri­ence.

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