Falls Church storm damage leaves residents waiting for help

A tangled, down tree lays in front of a Falls Church home. Photo: Jay Korff

Debris still litters much of the landscape of Falls Church on Monday, more than three days after the deadly derecho that struck the greater D.C. area moved through.

However, as time and the oppressive heat dragged on, impatient residents who grew tired of waiting for downed trees to be removed took matters into their own hands.

And, as the day went on, it became clear that some residents have yet to reach the calm after the storm, including John Schmidt, who took a chainsaw to a tree downed in a roadway.

"I saw that it was blocking traffic, and figured I'd get some exercise and try to get it out of the way," Schmidt said.

By Monday morning, more than half of Dominion's Falls Church customers were in the dark. As the afternoon rolled around, not much had changed.

It got worse when a cyclist got clotheslined by a low-hanging power line as he rode down a city street.

"He's rather seriously injured; a broken collarbone and a dislocated shoulder," Mary Darne, a witness to the accident, said. "There's not a lot of downed power lines in this area, and most of them are not well marked."

In some neighborhoods, lines still litter the street like snakes, including one that residents say was live for 12 hours before it shorted itself out and melting the sidewalk into molten rock.

Just down the street, a tree limb fell and took several lines with it. The owner of a home nearby, Marasri Sophastienphong, had planned to move back to Thailand on Tuesday, but she has to put those plans on hold. She doesn't even know when Dominion will clean it up.

"They have so many customers to take care of," Sophastienphong said. "We have been waiting for many days."