Chester and its neighbors are still digging and sawing out of a sea of debris from storms that pounded the area, first on June 29 as a major wind event and then round 2 o’clock on June 30 as severe thunderstorms, wind and torrential rains. At the height of the two storm days, Virginia had 1.2 million people without electricity. Locally, in the Metro Richmond/Tri-cities area [includes Chesterfield/Chester area] nearly 200,000 lost power.
On July 4, Governor Bob McDonnell issued an update on the statewide recovery efforts and current status.
Governor McDonnell said that, as of 10 a.m. on July 4, power companies were reporting that approximately 176,928 customers remained without power statewide, a decline of 59,911 since 5 p.m. July 3 and down from a high of some 1.2 million outages. All hospitals are back on grid power. On Sunday night, Dominion Power reported several outages in Central Virginia due to storms. An estimated 5,000 customers were without power.
“Statewide the number of storm-related fatalities has increased to 12,” McDonnell said. “I am pleased that more and more homes are coming back on line, and I am encouraged that the power companies continue to work around the clock on the problem areas, but the high heat in Virginia is a serious ongoing safety concern.”
During the power outage days several county libraries opened their doors to provide cooling shelters for residents, including opening on Sunday and July 4, which was a scheduled holiday closing day.
Fire and medical crews in the county were kept busy.
Captain Keith Chambers of Chesterfield Fire and EMS, Fire Marshal’s Office, said that from 10 p.m. on June 29 through midnight July 1, the department was dispatched to 400 calls. Of the 400 calls; 107 were emergency medical calls and 293 were fire calls. Chambers said the majority of the calls were for trees and power lines down. During the storm three structure [houses, businesses, etc] fires occurred that caused $141,000 in damage.
July 4 celebrations began and a new dispatch of emergency calls followed.
Chambers reported that on July 4 there were several fireworks complaints that had to be followed up on, emphasizing that all fireworks are illegal in the county. The department also had three fire incidents related to fireworks, Chambers explained, crews were dispatched to a dumpster fire after used fireworks were discarded in there, a convertible top of a car was damaged from fireworks and a brush fire was sparked due to fireworks.