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A rain-soaked June exits with storms taking out trees, power in Naperville

Several dozen homes in the historic district on Naperville’s near east side bore the brunt of power outages resulting from Monday night’s storms, when an overhead wire fell prey to a fallen tree limb and took out their electricity for several hours. Everyone in that area, and two others that experienced outages, had their power restored by daybreak Tuesday.

Mark Curran, director of the city’s electric utility, said 62 households in an area bounded by Prairie Avenue, Chicago Avenue, Columbia Street and Wright Street were in the dark from 10:07 p.m. Monday until 4:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Also out of power for a while Monday night were three dozen customers who live between Oswego Road, Oakhurst Drive and Whispering Hills Drive, whose power went out for slightly more than an hour beginning at 7:12 p.m.; and 66 homes in a neighborhood south of Ogden Avenue between Sleight and Brainard streets and Seventh Avenue, where the electricity went down at 10:13 p.m. and stayed off for just more than two hours.

“A total of three electric outages occurred during the storm affecting 164 customers with a total of 590 customer outage hours,” Curran said in an email.

The fallen tree was one of dozens that went down across the city after two strong storm cells passed through Monday evening.

“We had (Department of Public Works) crews in since 7:30 last night,” city spokeswoman Linda LaCloche said in an email Tuesday morning. “Our first priority is to keep streets open so we had to move a few trees off the street but that was a small number.

“Last night was mainly keeping grates clear for stormwater and we had to close a few streets for a few hours (400 south block of Julian, Prairie and Columbia). We have around 30 trees that we need to remove from parkways that are partially blocking sidewalks and roads now. That will take us a few days to accomplish.”

Flood control specialists also were kept busy with Monday’s weather. DuPage County was continuing Tuesday morning with operations at Fawell Dam, which protects Naperville from flooding as the West Branch of the DuPage River becomes swollen with rain water. Some areas of the county saw more than two inches of rain overnight, according to a news release from the Stormwater Management Department, triggering activation of all three of its mechanically operated flood control facilities.

All together, Naperville staff fielded 179 calls Tuesday morning that were related to the storms, LaCloche said, including 129 involving flooding and storm damage, four stemming from storm water maintenance issues, five requesting brush pickup and 41 having to do with forestry.

The calls came from the Springbrook Estates, Countryside of Naperville, Olympic Terrace, Moser Highlands, Maplebrook Estates, Old Farm, Tall Grass, High Meadow, South Pointe and Saddle Creek subdivisions, LaCloche reported.

No injuries were reported after lightning apparently started a chimney fire at a home on the south side of Naperville during Monday night’s thunderstorms.

Fire Department Division Chief Kevin Lyne said in a news release that a resident at 3628 Schillinger Court placed a 9-1-1 call at 9:44 p.m., reporting a smoke odor in the home after lightning struck nearby. Two pieces of firefighting equipment went to the scene with a crew of six, Lyne said, finding the structure’s attic on fire when they arrived at 9:45 p.m.

With the blaze upgraded to a general alarm response, additional fire crews joined the effort, surveying the site for extended flames while the initial responders extinguished the blaze. The body of the fire remained contained to the attic, Lyne said, and was under control within a few minutes after the crews arrived.

Damage to the house was estimated at $75,000. An inspector from the city’s Transportation, Engineering and Development business group deemed the building uninhabitable until repairs have been made.

Weather was determined to have caused the fire, one of several incidents that called out city crews during the course of the evening’s turbulent weather. At least one other home, at 305 Royce Woods Court on the city’s far southeast side, was rendered temporarily uninhabitable after it was damaged by a tree felled by high winds.

Other calls involved “fire alarms, reports of power lines down and odor investigations,” Lyne said in the statement.

Some downed trees in Naperville hit private property. A southeast-side house on Royce Woods Court was declared uninhabitable after a huge tree landed on its roof during the night.

In the front yard of Dawn Walker’s southwest Naperville townhouse, a 30-foot spruce that served as the backdrop for her son’s photograph on the first day of school every year beginning in 1999 was lying on the lawn Tuesday morning. The massive evergreen was upended by its roots from the saturated soil that had held them in place.

Walker said the tree must have gone down during the later of the two waves of highly inclement weather, but she and her family didn’t hear it fall.

“My son came home from work at 7 and the tree was fine, so it had to have happened sometime between then and when my husband pulled out of the driveway this morning,” she said Tuesday.

Out snapping photographs of the landscape casualty, Walker noticed she was not the only one mourning the loss of the big evergreen.

“There is a little bunny that’s hanging out by the tree, and I wonder if his family might be under that tree,” she said. “He just keeps hanging around.”

A tree specialist was going through her neighborhood Tuesday morning and took a look at the upended spruce, she said, and informed her it’s highly doubtful it can be successfully put back into the ground.

“I don’t know how I could get so attached to a tree. I guess it’s because all of the photos of my son have that tree in it,” she said. “I’m just sick.”

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