Power lines fell onto several vehicles along a street in Stoneham, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, trapping at least one driver, when a tractor-trailer clipped them while driving by Wednesday morning, according to fire officials.
Seven utility poles that carry the power lines came down after a crash on Montvale Avenue near Woburn and Interstate 93, closing the street. At least two trucks and three cars and SUVs appeared to be in contact with the power lines — a dangerous situation that can be deadly, though no injuries were reported.
Nadia Vargas, who was trapped in her car, saw a truck clip a wire, bringing the poles down.
"It was a low hanging wire, for sure," she said. "I saw it snag."
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She was right behind the truck and could see the wires start bringing down the utility poles, one after another.
"I could see the pole in front of me," she said. "I was like, 'If I don't get crushed by this pole in front of me, I'm going to get crushed behind me,' so it was very scary."
Vargas was able to dodge the falling poles, but wires ended up draped all over her car.
"It kind of settled on me that I had a near-death experience," she said.
She stayed put, not knowing if the wires were electrified. After about 20 minutes trapped in her car, she was pulled out by firefighters.
"You see power lines down from ice storms," said neighborhood resident James Baker. "I've never seen seven poles down in a row, it looked like a comet hit it or something."
Power was cut to more than 400 homes and businesses, and some residents started packing up and heading elsewhere.
"I work from home," said Sheyla Novaes. "I need my laptop, I need my phone, I can't gamble not having power."
Another problem: State environmental officials say 75 gallons of oil from transformers that crashed to the ground spilled onto the road and into a storm drain that empties into Sweetwater Brook — the oil will have to be cleaned up.
Parts of Montvale Avenue were still closed late Wednesday night. Authorities were hoping to have it reopen by 9 a.m. Thursday. Earlier Wednesday, Exit 27 of I-93 was also closed.
"We're asking the public to avoid the area to ease traffic congestion as we respond to this incident," Police Chief James McIntyre said in a statement Wednesday.
More than two dozen people called 911 to report the downed power lines around 9:34 a.m., according to local officials.
Vargas is grateful that she escaped what could have been catastrophic.
"I have tickets to see Adele this weekend in Vegas," she said. "I have too much to live for today, and today was not gonna be my day."