Storm caused transformer fire, power outages

Thunderstorm kept fire department busy

Some areas of town experienced power outages of varying lengths during the late afternoon and early evening on Wednesday, June 26, due to lightning and thunderstorm.

The Ponoka County East District Fire Department was dispatched around 4:35 p.m., just east of Hwy. 2A, a few miles north of Ponoka after a transformer was struck by lightning and caught fire.

After waiting for Fortis to cut the power, department members were able to extinguish the fire, according to regional fire chief Dennis Jones.

There were no injuries and other buildings were damaged.

Lightning also struck the roof of the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre, right before the transformer was hit.

Jones wasn’t at that call but said, “Over the radio it sounded like everything was O.K. upon arrival.”

By all accounts, the outage at the hospital was brief. After members were finished at the hospital and about to head back to the fire hall a residential alarm call came in, which was also cleared up quickly.

“So no serious issues which is great,” said Jones.

Facebook users reported a variety of outages around town, including a loss of power for at least 20 minutes on 51 and 53 Ave., and as far as 10 miles west of Ponoka.

The transformer fire was a separate incident and did not cause the outages in town, according to Jones, as that transformer only provided power to one home in the area.

The Ponoka area was under a weather advisory from Environment Canada June 26 for the possibility of the development of funnel clouds. These types of funnel clouds are generally weak, but could potentially intensify into a weak landspout tornado.

The forecast expects rain and thunderstorms for Ponoka June 27.

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