EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 1, 2013

Tree limb crushes truck

By Mike LaBella

---- — HAVERHILL — A Georgetown man says he was fortunate not to have been inside his work truck having lunch or making a phone call or else he might have been seriously injured or killed.

Alex Ingram, 49, a carpentry project manager with Essex Restoration, was working on a home renovation project in Haverhill yesterday. His truck was parked at the top of 14th Avenue, and Ingram was in the basement of a Victorian style home just around the corner at 600 Main St. Shortly after noon, one of his fellow carpenters walked up to him and broke the news.

“He told me that a tree had just landed on my truck,” Ingram said.

Ingram went outside and saw that his truck was covered in tree limbs and branches. The top of an old maple tree in the front yard of a home on 14th Avenue had snapped off in high winds and landed on his 2005 Chevy Silverado, crushing its roof and windshield and causing other damages. One of the limbs smashed through the windshield and entered the vehicle’s cabin, where Ingram could have been sitting.

“I guess it as a good thing I wasn’t inside having my lunch, making a call or getting tools,” Ingram said. “Although my truck is badly damaged, the saving grace is that no one was hurt.”

This was only one of many incidents of damage and destruction around the region yesterday. As the temperature plummeted more than 20 degrees during the day, sustained high winds toppled many trees, some taking wires with them.

A strong burst of wind and rain snapped approximately six utility poles, exploded transformers and brought down wires and poles onto Route 114 near the Danvers line yesterday around 10 a.m.

Roads were also closed in a number of local towns until public works utility crews could clear the damage.

At least four ski areas closed for the day or closed some trails because of the wind — or because of the warmer weather.

In all, more than 23,000 power outages were reported throughout Massachusetts yesterday. New Hampshire reported 13,000. Most power had been restored by late afternoon, but a wind advisory remained in effect into the evening. That means sustained winds of 25 mph to 30 mph were likely, with potential gusts up to 50 mph.

Haverhill seemed to be particularly badly hit. Scott Edgerly, a tree worker with the Haverhill’s Parks and Trees Department who removed the debris from Ingram’s truck, said his crew had been responding to downed three limbs and branches all morning.

High temperatures today may not reach freezing and will likely drop into the teens overnight. But the wind is expected to stay below 20 mph and there’s no snow in sight until Sunday.