By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford fared better during a severe storm this past Saturday than during one that struck Oxford on the night of Tuesday, July 20 which knocked over trees, felled branches, downed power lines and possibly started a fire in its wake.
The July 20 storm rolled across Southeast Michigan around 6 p.m., bringing with it 60 mph winds and hail up to 3/4 inches large. While lasting only a relatively short time, the storm was strong enough to cause ample damage throughout Oxford.
By far the most common damage was fallen branches and trees. Many streets were littered with twigs and small branches shook loose by the storm, and some roads made nearly impassable by fallen branches. Half of S. Waterstone was obstructed by a chunk of broken tree, while debris on E. Drahner Rd., by Crossroads for Youth, required a Road Commission for Oakland County crew to make the dirt road passable.
Some of the most impressive tree damage was along Lakes Edge Dr. where several trees were uprooted by the storm. The Village of Oxford’s department of public works cleared away the debris.
The Oxford Fire Department received several calls for medical events and downed power lines throughout the evening. Many of these were handled by Orion Township, Brandon Township and Groveland Township departments as a house fire took the Oxford department’s attention.
“We were lucky insomuch as the fire call came in right after the storm rolled through,” Matthew Majestic, Oxford Fire Department assistant chief, said. “The crews did a very nice job. They worked really hard and quick to get a water supply and get hoses stretched both into the house and up onto the roof where the fire was.”
While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, a lightning strike is believed to be the culprit.
47,100 people had electrical service impacted by the storm across eastern Michigan according to DTE Energy. Most of the power was restored within a day, though a few buildings throughout the region remained without power into July 22.
“For the most part it impacted Farmington Hills up toward the Bloomfield Hills and the Pontiac-Lake Orion area, that is really what got it the worst,” Jack Reynolds, a spokesperson for DTE, said.