Sparks Fly as Utility Pole Falls on Playground

The quick and alert work of several teachers prevented children at a Wetzel County school from harm after a power pole was pulled down on the playground by a gas drilling truck traveling in the area Tuesday.

At about noon, a large truck that is part of the gas industry pulled down a utility line on W.Va. 7 near the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families, causing the pole to break. Children were on the playground at that time.

“Sparks were flying and an electrical and telephone wire fell to the ground,” said Superintendent of Schools Diane Watt in a recorded telephone message to parents Tuesday.

The children in Leslie Emch’s and Ashley Goddard’s classes at the center were on the playground at the time.

The school personnel had the children sit in the middle of the playground until maintenance and bus garage employees determined there wasn’t any danger to the school or the playground.

The teachers were afraid the electric lines may have charged the metal fence surrounding the playground.

“The power was cut but the children were safe and they spent the remainder of the day playing in the big toy room,” Watt said.

She said emergency personnel were there immediately and maintained traffic flow on W.Va. 7 and facilitated a safe dismissal at the regular time. The electricity in the area was restored at approximately 4 p.m. The incident is under investigation by the West Virginia State Police, who were unavailable for comment.