A tree caused a widesrpead power outage that effected parts of Noble, Dekalb, and Allen Counties Wednesday, May 23.
About 12,000 customers, most of Indiana Michigan Power but also some who use Noble REMC, lost power at around 8:10 a.m. Albion and Kendallville were among the communties affected, as well as Garrett, Auburn, Leo-Cedarville, parts of northern Fort Wayne, and some rural areas in between.
Officials from American Electric Power, Indiana Michigan Power's parent company, at first thought an equipment failure in Albion started a series of tripped circuits. Later, crews learned that tree limbs touching a power line on the north edge of Fort Wayne caused the initial problem, tripping a fault sensor that ultimately tried to feed too much power through the circuit in Albion.
Electricity was restored in just over half an hour, according to officials. In the meantime, several traffic lights went dark, including the one at Main and Orange streets in Albion. Highway crews scrambled to bring out stop signs, while Albion Town Marshal Tom Lock directed traffic at Albion's main intersection and other officers across the area also took up traffic control duties.
At one point Lock had to stop traffic to let through fire trucks responding to a fire alarm at Parker Hannifin Corporation, on the north edge of town. Units were disregarded after the alarm, believed to be caused by the outage, was determined to be false.
Not far from there, north of Albion, two cows were reported running loose. The livestock was reportedly kept in an area protected by an electric fence, but it wasn't certain if the outage had powered their escape.