The Power Line Accident
Yesterday started like any typical Monday at Hale Dental. The hum of dental equipment, the steady flow of patients, and the team working efficiently. But a few hours into the workday, everything changed unexpectedly.
A sudden bang preceded the flickering and then the complete failure of the lights at the office. Dr. Hale was forced to stop, mid-treatment as he filled a cavity. The hygienists, busy cleaning teeth, watched as their dental instruments slowly winded down to the loss of power. There was silence and confusion in both the team and patients.
Outside, the cause of the commotion became apparent. A utility truck and trailer, attempting to turn around in our parking lot, had failed to notice the low-hanging electrical lines. Entangled, they brought down the power lines, pulling them across the parking lot until sparks flew. The drivers exited their vehicles likely unaware of the dangers of exiting a vehicle when encountering live wire. And fortunately, their lives were spared—somehow.
The incident brought urgency to an ongoing concern. Our office had been in discussions with city utilities for weeks, advocating for the lines to be raised. In late 2023, the entire utility pole leaned at a perilous 45-degree angle toward our building, preventing access to our cars and posing detrimental danger to the team and unsuspecting drivers.
All the ultility poles lining the back of the property had been replaced early summer of 2023 except the pole with the transformer and lines to our building. It made us question the work of the gentlemen out that summer and wonder why they left one standing, (or leaning for that matter). It had been twice in the last three months that the fire department came for related hazards. Yet, this risk was unknown to the unsuspecting drivers who had collided with the lines yesterday. We were immensely relieved that the truck’s occupants were unharmed in the incident.
Finding a Contractor
The situation required us to reschedule all of our patients for the rest of the day, and we shifted focus toward restoring power. Having never encountered electrical issues of this scale before, we knew the repair job would be substantial. Our call to Henry Electric, a company we hadn’t worked with previously, was met with an unexpectedly swift response. Within just 30 minutes, their team was on-site, instilling in us a sense of confidence despite the uncertain timeline ahead.
The scene at the back of Hale Dental’s building was a hive of activity. A team of at least five or six hard-hatted Henry Electric workers got to work, braving the cold for the next five hours. They tackled the complex task of repairing the damaged lines, which had left visible holes in our building’s exterior. Their diligence and expertise were evident as they meticulously worked to restore our electrical infrastructure.
Following their efforts, Indiana Michigan Power (AEP) then raised the lines to a safer height, addressing a safety concern that had gone unresolved. Throughout this entire ordeal, we had the unwavering support of Ben from Henry Electric. He was a constant presence, overseeing every detail and double-checking each point to ensure everything was restored to proper working order. His dedication and the team’s hard work were not just about fixing a problem; they were about restoring a sense of normalcy and safety to our dental clinic.
Our Patients Understanding
In light of the circumstances, we have been deeply moved by the understanding and commitment shown by our patients. Their response to this out-of-the-ordinary situation has been nothing short of remarkable. It’s a powerful reminder of the trust and strong relationships we’ve built over the years. While we pride ourselves on being a reliable and trustworthy dental clinic, sometimes, circumstances beyond our control can disrupt even the best-laid plans.
It’s not every day that a vehicle maneuvers into our driveway, and leaves with the building attached. This was a stark reminder that, no matter how much we strive for perfection, there are elements we simply can’t predict or plan for.
Through it all, the support of our patients has been incredibly heartening. They’ve reinforced our belief that we’re not just a clinic, but a community. Their empathy and flexibility during this time have underscored the mutual respect and understanding that forms the foundation of our practice. For this, we are profoundly grateful. Their reaction to this disruption reassures us that, even when things go awry, our patients trust us to navigate these challenges while maintaining the high standard of care they expect from us.
Thank You Fort Wayne
Although the day’s events disrupted our schedule, the outcome could have been much more severe. We keep replaying “What if” scenarios in our heads. It isn’t unusual for fires to break out, explosions, and sometimes death when dealing with electrical line catastrophes such as this one.
Beyond what could have been scenarios, we are immensely thankful to Henry Electric and AEP for their unwavering dedication under challenging conditions. Their commitment, along with the support of our patients and the Fort Wayne community, underscores the collective strength we possess in facing and overcoming unexpected challenges. Thank you for helping to keep Hale Family Dentistry’s team, patients, staff, and drivers who turn around in our parking lot safe from here on out.