Downed power lines spark car fire in Silver Spring

Cronan's PT Cruiser fell victim to a fallen tree and a fire in less than 72 hours. Photo: Brad Bell

A pair of cars owned by Silver Spring resident Andrew Cronan were already storm victims. Both his PT Cruiser and Buick SUV both took direct hits from fallen trees during Friday's storm.

The fire that torched them both this morning was the coup de grace.

"It's pretty impressively crispy," Cronan said.

The fire started when downed power lines which have been laying across his cars since the storm were somehow reenergized Tuesday morning. The sudden burst of electricity set the cars aflame. Firefighters who arrived quickly couldn't do anything until the power was cut off, but by that time, the fire was threatening his house.

Cronan says that he called Pepco on Monday to report the downed lines near his home in the 2900 block of Woodstock Avenue, but they weren't removed. His neighborhood, like many others in the region, remains a mess.

"It's definitely upsetting and stressful, but everybody is OK," he said.

A county crew has been plugging away at the fallen trees which block many roads in the area, and even the workers admit to getting frustrated with the progress.

"We've been running nonstop getting this stuff up and haven't even put a dent in it," tree crew worker Richard de Grange said.

In the meantime, crews from around the country continue to pour in as reinforcements. One of them, Donivan Vidrin, came from Louisiana to await instructions from Pepco. He already knows that he'll be working in some very frustrating communities.

"It takes time," Vidrin said. "You've got to have a little patience with it because you don't just flip a switch."

Back on Woodstock Avenue, Cronan wonders if a little more patience from the community would be a good thing.

"Maybe they are under too much pressure to rush to get power on too soon," he said.

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