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Tuesday’s Pole Replacement Was Third Since 1984 Tornado

The Water Valley Electric Department had a laborious task Tuesday morning replacing a rotten utility pole that supported a web of wires Retired electric department superintendents Joe Newman and Andy Hall assisted with the effort.

WATER VALLEY – The city’s electric department had all hands on deck Tuesday morning to replace a rotten utility pole next to the First Baptist Church CAC building on North Main that supported three transformers and a web of power lines. The assembly of workers included retired electric department superintendents Joe Newman and Andy Hall in addition to current superintendent Brandon Richardson and his crew.

Newman recalled that the electric department replaced many utility poles in this area of the city following widespread damage from the 1984 tornado. The problem, Newman added, was that one shipment of utility poles in 1985 from a now-closed plant in Fordice, Ark. was not properly treated.

“And we have been changing those poles out ever since. Apparently they only dipped the poles in the treatment and shipped them out. They really didn’t soak them properly,” Newman explained.

Newman pointed to another pole closer to Main Street that came from the same bad supply.

“We changed that one out 20 years ago when I was still a lineman,” Newman added.

Hall, who followed Newman as superintendent before retiring in early 2022, noted that Tuesday’s replacement job actually marked the third time for the pole since the 1984 tornado. The first replacement was the Fordice, Ark. pole, and the second replacement pole the crew was taking down Tuesday was a pine pole that also did not stand the test of time.

“I have seen a good pole last 50 years, “ Newman added. “But not any more.”

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