The toppled south side of a Richmond building slowed restoring power to the city, preliminary reports from Kansas City Power & Light and Richmond Police said.
As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, crews had removed the downed side of the Derstler Building at the corner of Lexington and Thornton in Richmond from two of KCP&Ls four major feeds into the city, said Richmond Police Chief Terri McWilliams from the scene. The building’s partial collapse approximately after 5 a.m. today – attributed by McWilliams to early morning high winds and heavy rains – injured no one, but contributed to 1,500 KCPL customers in Richmond losing power.
Lexington Street will be closed between College and Thornton while crews work to clear a pole down across the road and downed wires, McWilliams said.
KCP&L representative Katie McDonald said a timetable for power restoration would be out of the question until the building could be removed. At press time, she was scheduled for a noon conference call to further update the situation.
“The issue is the building that fell,” McDonald said. “If the city gets the building wall removed soon, we could have (power) back on today.”
McDonald said the area, including Richmond, Henrietta, Lexington and surrounding localities, took the brunt of the morning storm’s heavy straight-line winds, causing approximately 3,800 power outages throughout the area. Lexington, Richmond and Henrietta are dealing with the majority of the area’s power loss, McDonald said.
“Crews are headed toward the area right now to assist with the storm restoration efforts,” she said. McDonald said the crews dispatched are coming from across KCP&L’s service area.
Richmond Police Chief Terri McWilliams provided a status update at 8:30 a.m. as police worked with other emergency responders to remove the damaged wall. McDonald said at that point that downed trees and poles had accounted for a majority of damages.
“Phase one was clearing the streets and getting the streets open, because we have several large trees down,” McWilliams said between 8 a.m. and 8:30. “That is just about complete. Phase two is we’ve got some crews coming in from other towns that are going to help clean up trees and that sort of thing.”
McWilliams said she wasn’t in a position to provide updates on when power would be restored to most of Richmond.
“Right now, (city crews) are dealing with damage, (KCP&L crews) are dealing with power,” McWilliams said. “Some power has been restored. “The only reason I know that is because I ran by my house to get some equipment and the power is back on.”