Monsoon storm knocks out power in Safford; darkens movie theater

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Disappointed movie-goers learn that the power was knocked out during the monsoon storm and the theater was blackened and shut down until power could be restored.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – As far as monsoon storms go, it was a pretty mild one but it still managed to knock out power to an area of Safford and disable a traffic light. 

Around 6 p.m., a storm swept through Safford and a utility pole behind the Stargazer 5 movie theater was damaged, including a ruptured line that lay prone on the ground. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The Safford Electric Department works on the damaged power line.

The Safford Electric Department arrived at about 6:20 p.m. and began working on the damaged line, but to do so had to shut off a leg which cut power to other areas of the city. As of a 6:30 p.m. update, power was expected to be off for about two hours. 

Officers at the scene weren’t sure if the utility pole was damaged by a lightning strike or if the wind had just knocked the wire loose, causing a spark. A pole was smoldering from fire, however, and the Safford Fire Department was dispatched with the Fire Chief’s truck and one engine to assess and handle any issue. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The Safford Fire Chief Clark Bingham shows up to assess the situation and handle any issue from the damaged and smoldering utility pole.

Movie-goers inside the theater who had already purchased tickets were being assisted by staff and a line stretching out the door down the sidewalk was informed of the situation just as the remaining lights in the theater flickered and went black. 

The power outage also affected other businesses, including some on 8th Avenue, and also knocked out the traffic light at the intersection of 5th Avenue and U.S. Highway 70.