Chesterton Tribune



Crashes into NIPSCO pole; outage results

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An Ogden Dunes resident was arrested Saturday on a charge of operating while intoxicated after he toppled a NIPSCO pole at the intersection of East Porter Ave. and Dickinson Road, Chesterton Police said.

The resulting power outage in turn activated a fire alarm at the Franciscan Health Fitness Center on Michael Drive, and caused a generator to start running--and smoking--at the Frontier building on South Calumet Road, the Chesterton Fire Department said.

According to police, at 5:17 p.m. Mike Falk, 59, of 61 Ski Hill Road, was westbound on East Porter Ave. and, he advised, “not paying attention,” when he left the roadway to the right and struck a NIPSCO pole, shearing it in half. Falk’s 2019 Dodge Durango then came to rest in a ditch.

Falk--who refused medical treatment at the scene--showed signs of intoxication and subsequently registered a blood alcohol content of .19 percent on a blood draw, police said. Motorists in Indiana are considered legally intoxicated when they score a B.A.C. of .08 percent or higher. Falk was transported to Porter County Jail.

CFD Engine 515 responded to the scene, where a non-arcing power line was down in the roadway. Firefighters maintained the scene until a NIPSCO crew “arrived minutes later” to shut off the power and begin repairs. The Chesterton Street Department also responded to erect barricades and close the road.

Fire Chief John Jarka told the Chesterton Tribune this morning that “a large section of the town” was affected by the power outage, including the Franciscan Health Fitness Center, 810 Michael Drive, where a fire alarm was activated at 5:20 p.m. Firefighters, accompanied by the keyholder, inspected the facility to ensure all was in order and, after determining that the fire alarm panel had re-set itself, cleared the scene at 5:32 p.m.

The outage also caused a generator at the Frontier building, 505 S. Calumet Road, to start running. CFD Engine 501 responded at 5:25 p.m. after a passerby reported “more smoke than usual coming out of a smokestack on the building,” the CFD said. Firefighters checked the scene, found all fine, and cleared at 5:29 p.m.


Posted 8/10/2020




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