July 27, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 175

Hundreds lose power after Montreal storm

MONTREAL, Wis. — Trees and power lines were lost to the forces of wind and gravity last night after a thunderstorm rolled through Montreal, Wis., Thursday evening leaving hundreds without power for nearly an hour.

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe
DENNIS ZALESKI, of Montreal, Wis., helps cut apart a downed tree in his neighbor Steve Schurtter’s yard Friday morning after a severe storm rolled through Thursday night.

According to Xcel Energy, after the storm hit around 7 p.m. Thursday night, 912 customers were without power. By 8 p.m., the majority of those customers had power reinstated.

Despite power coming back on for many residents in Montreal, some spent Friday morning cutting up trees and large branches littering the streets and their front yards.

Steve Schurtter, who lives on Michigan Avenue in Montreal, said he wasn’t in town during the storm, but returned home later Thursday night to find a large tree down in his yard.

“I knew that it needed pruning, but not like this,” Schurtter said.

Montreal fire chief Louis “Cookie” Laguna said the storm blew in quickly.

“We had a business meeting for the department at 6 p.m., and the storm blew in around 7:15 or 7:20 p.m.,” Laguna said. “We had to call the whole department out.”

It is believed more than 20 trees fell during the storm.

“There were a whole bunch of them,” Laguna said. “They were on houses, across cars and on power lines. The city has been cleaning them up since (Friday) morning.”

According to Iron County Emergency Management director Stacy Ofstad, the storm cut across from Montreal onto County D and went into the northern part of Carey and Oma.

“In the Center Drive location there was apparently a power pole that was damaged and down lines and trees across the road,” Ofstad said.

“There were some trees down in Oma, but there was an extensive amount of trees down in Montreal.”

According to the National Weather Service website, a resident in Gile, Wis., reported pea-to quarter-sized hail in addition to the damaging winds.

“For us, we just basically assisted Xcel Energy in making sure that nobody was hurt from the power lines,” Laguna said. “It’s good that nobody was hurt because of this storm.”

Despite the damage, neighbors helped each other across the city.

“My neighbor Dennis Zaleski is helping me cut my tree,” Schurtter said. “I am very thankful to have such an amazing guy right next door.”

Local businesses also helped where they could. On Facebook, Cary Mine Convenience posted on its page Thursday night, “Montreal, many people have come in for ice. The store is closed, but I left the outside ice cooler open for you. If you need some, come and get it. Stop by and pay tomorrow. Best of luck.”

Montreal mayor Mitch Koski responded on the social networking site to the store, “Acts of kindness like yours are greatly appreciated. Thank you for thinking of the people who many need a little help.”