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When the Tree Branch Hits the Power Line

I'll tell you, it looked harmless. My husband and I looked out the front window on Sunday to discover a very long, dead maple branch resting against the electric wire running to our house. One end of the dead branch touched the ground, and it looked almost as if someone had deliberately propped the branch against the power line. Electricity was still on inside the house.

My husband briefly considered moving it; I considered the prospect of our children being orphaned. So I called Dominion Virginia Power's emergency line to report the problem and placed a few small orange cones (left over from an old toy) near the sidewalk to warn neighbors away. I did feel a bit overcautious, but, hey, that's a whole house-full of electricity we're talking about.

The operator did not question the severity of our situation at all. She simply said they would have someone out to move the branch as soon as possible. As soon as possible turned out to be Monday. The branch now lies safely--and entirely--on the lawn, waiting for someone to cut it up and haul it to the curb. Here's what the utility has to say about safety.
Moral of the story: Trust your brain, not your eyes. My eyes told me there was no risk, but my brain told me not to find out.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  August 11, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Home features , Outdoors , Remodeling and repair  
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