Nearly 5,500 American Electric Power customers were without power Thursday afternoon after a large tree fell onto major electric transmission lines near Tunnel Ridge Mine in Ohio County.
The resulting outage affected customers in Ohio and Marshall counties, including the areas of Valley Grove, West Liberty, Loudenville and Big Grave Creek. As a result of the outage, students at Wheeling Park High School were dismissed early. Students at Cameron high and elementary schools in Marshall County were dismissed at noon Thursday.
Power went out at about noon, and the majority of customers had power restored by 2 p.m. An additional 730 customers in the West Liberty area were expected to have their service restored by 4 p.m.
Residents in the area of the line break reported hearing two loud explosions, sending county first responders to the Battle Run Road area of Valley Grove to look for the source of the blasts.
AEP spokeswoman Carmen Prati-Miller said when the tree came down it interrupted power to four main circuits in Ohio and Marshall counties. Because the affected lines were main transmission lines, Prati-Miller said there would have been a significant "flash and a pretty big noise."