States Only Hurricane Related Fatality Recorded in Lanc. Twp., PA
Lancaster Township Fire Department reported the state's only storm-related fatality during hurricane Isabel, Friday September 19.
Brian M. Detwiler, 25, of Conestoga, was killed just before 1 a.m. when his car slammed into a tree that had fallen across the road in the 1300 block of New Danville Pike.
Firefighters said the tree was 2 to 3 feet in diameter and appeared to have been uprooted by the storm. The tree covered an area 20x25 feet on the roadway. It fell across New Danville Pike at a blind curve in the roadway.
Detwiler was driving north on Route 324 when his vehicle struck the tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"This incident is an indicator of how good driving conditions can get dangerous very quickly," Lancaster Township fire Chief Glenn Usdin said. "That's why we in public safety ask people to stay
inside during a storm warning or state of emergency when one is declared. Unless you have a really good reason to be out, stay inside."
After Isabel hit the Lancaster area, an estimated 126,867 residents lost power due to the downing of 222 primary lines and the loss of 568 transformers.Statewide, the storm knocked out power to 700,000 residents.
During the height of the storm early Friday morning, failing power set off countless burglar alarms in the city, malfunctioning transformers created a series of lightning-like flashes and falling wires reportedly set at least one tree on fire.
The storm brought wind gusts up to 73 mph in Lancaster Township and left behind it a trail of downed power lines, snapped utility poles and the wreckage of hundreds of trees across the state.
PPL declared the storm to be the worst in its 83-year history and brought in extra workers from as far away as Iowa, Canada and New Hampshire.
Throughout the county, Isabel toppled more than 200 trees. Debris forced the closing of more than 200 roads, though workers had cleared all major arteries by Friday afternoon.
"Just about everywhere got hit," assistant county Emergency Operations Center spokesman Ed Wickenheiser said. "Isabel certainly left her mark."We haven't even begun to estimate the damage."
The American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley opened a shelter at Manheim Central High School, but no one came, spokeswoman Angie Dearolf said.