The old adage of March coming “in like a lion” proved to be applicable to power outages, with Eaton’s Blackout Tracker tallying a whopping 475 separate instances across the U.S. last month. The loss of power affected 1.7 million people for a collective 12+ days. Whether or not the month would go “out like a lamb” remained to be seen (but we will report back as soon as April’s outages are logged).
Here, we round up some of the most intriguing incidents associated with power loss in March:
When an outage really leaves you hanging
Some Houston window washers got a little more than they bargained for on March 28, when a power outage left them stranded on an Uptown-area business tower. The Houston Fire Department responded to a high-angle rescue after the workers’ scaffolding was left dangling about halfway up a 41-story tower. Officials kept an eye on the two workers while waiting for the power to come back on, but it was ultimately determined that the pair should be rescued. Firefighters, who said the men were in no immediate danger, dropped a ladder into the scaffolding from a nearby window, rescuing workers after about an hour.
Airport flies by the seat of its pants during blackout
As if traveling wasn’t already stressful enough, on March 7, dozens of flights were delayed and others diverted or cancelled after a power outage clipped the wings of Los Angeles International Airport. A sudden, aggressive storm surge was blamed for the blackout, which delayed 45 arrivals and departures and redirected two flights to other airports. The power disruption also affected parking garages, ticketing counters and self-service kiosks.
Fans play pick-up during basketball playoffs
Faithful fans came to the rescue March 6 during an unexpected power cut at King University's Student Center in Bristol, Tenn. As a recording of the national anthem began to play prior to start of the Conference Carolinas men's basketball tournament championship game, the facility suddenly went dark. Despite the power problem, fans continued to sing the words to the anthem, resulting in a poignant moment that prompted the university to post a video with the tweet, “When you have technical problems, but the fans know the words to the national anthem!”
Outage ensues after fighting fire with fire
Normally firefighters are the ones credited for charging to the rescue during an emergency. However, on March 30 in Sherman Oaks, Calif., it was a firefighter who actually caused a crisis, resulting in a power outage and a fire.
The engine was en route to a medical emergency with lights and sirens on when the driver suffered an undisclosed medical emergency, lost control of the truck and crashed into several cars, knocking down power lines. The incident not only resulted in a blackout in the area, but ignited a blaze inside a nearby liquor store. The firefighter was transported to the hospital in serious condition. According to emergency radio transmissions from the scene, at least six parked cars were damaged in the crash.