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I lucked out ... big time!
March 20, 2012 - Jim Smith
Sunday evening before I went downstairs to the family room to ride my stationary bike for my evening 25-mile ride, my wife and I intently watched on a Columbus television station reports of severe storms and possible tornadoes in the Central Ohio area where my mother and my wife's mother live. My mother repeatedly commented, "I hope they don't come our way!"
Well, as we all know, they did.
The heavy storms hit late Sunday night, with boomers and lightning that reminded us far too much of our days in Louisiana and the severe nighttime storms that came off the Gulf of Mexico. For nearly two hours the storm kept us awake and we no more than got to sleep when a horrendous sounding boom caused us to sit straight up in bed about 1 a.m.
Power was knocked off line in part of the house, which made me believe a circuit breaker had popped. It had. Upon resetting the breaker, everything seemed back to normal, although I did not go room-to-room checking power activity.
Another boomer awoke us about 4 a.m., but nothing seemed to be damaged, other than scattering the cats that had been sleeping on the bed.
When I was awakened by my alarm clock Monday morning, I stumbled around in the dark, as usual, finding my glasses and heading for the upstairs hallway. I flipping on the light switch accomplished nothing, but a back bedroom where we feed the cats was working, just as was the lights in my office, the bathroom, the kitchen and the dining room.
Electricity in the living room, as well as to the Internet, the cable TV modem and various plug-in lights and lights in the downstairs family room, plug-in-lights and the TV were out. So were all the handheld, battery-powered telephoned and Caller ID.
No circuit breakers were off line, but I reset them anyway.
Seeing the living room light switch with a burn mark beside it on the wall, convinced me we had taken a lightning hit, leaving us with some severe damage.
Once at the newspaper, our maintenance-warehouse manager contacted the electrician firm the paper uses and an electrician met me at my home to inspect the damage.
Fearing the worst, he listened to my tale and then went to the circuit breaker box to test all the incoming power and all breakers. All were functioning. Whew!
The switch with the burn mark was the problem. Replacing the switch and flipping back on the electricity flow caused power to be restored throughout house, including to the functioning TVs, modems, Internet and everything else, except three battery-powered telephones and the called ID box, all of which undoubtedly suffered a power surge through their power supplies.
Not bad! What I feared would be thousands of dollars in repairs, possible with new TVs, new computer printer, new modems, etc., turned out to be a bill for an electrician and three new battery-powered phones.
Yep, I lucked out.
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