Some motorists ignore police roadblock after high winds knock trees into power lines along Meredith Center Road
Published Date Written by Gail OberLACONIA — A portion of Meredith Center Road was closed for two hours yesterday afternoon after a gust of wind blew a tree down onto a power line.
With the line still electrified and the tree coming closer and closer to falling during the wind gusts, police and fire officials closed the road from the corner of Eastman Road and Lane Road to the Heritage Free Will Baptist Church.
At times the burning tree would flare and the flames could be seen from Eastman Drive.
Police manned the Eastman Drive intersection while the fire department put barriers and caution tape across the road in front of the church. The road remained closed from about 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. when the power company and a tree service finished removing the tree.
At least twice, people got out of their cars and moved the barriers on the church side so they could go through the road.
Police Det. Kevin Butler chastised the people who crossed the barrier line as they reached him at Eastman Road and later said he was very angry that people would remove a safety barrier deliberately put there to keep them safe.
Fire Lt. Chris Shipp said at one point a firefighter saw one driver remove the barrier and lift the tape to allow other two cars to go through. He echoed Butler when he said police and firefighters put barriers in the road to stop people from getting hurt.
CAPTION - The charred ends of a tree the landed on power lines closing Meredith Center Road yesterday can be seen from about 30 feet away. Area police and fire departments were kept busy throughout the day as high winds swept through the state knocking trees on to wires and branches on to roofs. (Laconia Police photo)