Photos

Winds topple 150-year-old oak in Bluefield

Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo An employee of Asplundh tree service works to clear a large white oak tree that fell as a result of high winds Wednesday along Bland Road in Bluefield. The tree was estimated to be more than 150 years old.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph photo
An employee of Asplundh tree service works to clear a large white oak tree that fell as a result of high winds Wednesday along Bland Road in Bluefield. The tree was estimated to be more than 150 years old.

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — High winds knocked down trees, power and communication lines  which caused blocked roads and streets throughout the region. Although a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Blacksburg, Va., said the wind gusts maxed out at 43 miles per hour at the Mercer County Airport, at least one white oak tree that survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989, fell to Wednesday’s wind.

“The big tree on the 2400 block of Bland Road that they decorate with yellow ribbons or seasonal ornaments for different seasons of the year fell in the wind this morning,” Lt. Jimmy Perkins of the Bluefield Fire Department said. “It completely blocked Bland Road for several hours.”

Perkins said firefighters received the call at 7:46 a.m., and remained on scene to assist until 10:58 a.m. “The tree is about five and one-half or six feet in diameter,” he said.

Contract crews with Asplundh worked to clear the tree as American Electric Power crews worked to restore power to an estimate 1,500 Appalachian Power Co., customers in Bluefield.

“We had a total of 4,600 customers in West Virginia without power this morning,” Phil Moye, APCO spokesman said. “We had power restored to more than 1,100 of those customers by 1 p.m., but after we got that power restored, crews found another power line down running to the station. We should have had it all up by 4 p.m., but they later revised that estimate to 5 p.m.”

Most Bluefielders are familiar with the iconic oak tree at 2415 Bland Road that Joan Monaco, and now her son, Frank Monaco decorate in celebration of various holidays and religious observances. Frank Monaco penned a poetic ode to the tree after it fell…

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