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Wednesday's ice storm caused more than 90% of Hillsdale residents to lose power

Broken tree limbs were strewn across the City of Hillsdale Thursday morning
Posted at 8:39 PM, Feb 23, 2023

HILLSDALE, Mich. — Wednesday's ice storm is what some in Hillsdale are calling the worst the city has ever seen. At its worst, 90% of the city was without power. By 1:30 p.m. the next day, that didn't improve by much.

Bill Mullaley, who has lived in the city of Hillsdale for 22 years, lost power at 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

"This is the worst storm I've ever seen," Mullaley said. "I live near the hospital right in the middle of town. Power's never been out for more than three, four hours...I actually had to leave. I couldn't believe it."

Driving into Hillsdale County, it was common to see street lights not working and fallen tree limbs. In the city, it wasn't much different. City firemen said they had been busy with calls all Wednesday night.

"Last night, I saw a big explosion across the street. It was orange, red, it was I think one of the transformers or something, and I just thought, 'What is going on?'" Mullaley said. "That kind of scared me."

Hillsdale City Manager David Mackie said by midnight only the city's industrial park had power.

"Our crews have been working—along with crews from what we call mutual aid from other cities—pretty much all morning to get things back up and running," Mackie said.

But even with the help of crews from other Michigan cities like Lowell, Napoleon, Zeeland and Grand Haven and even Bryan, Ohio, Mackie said the process has been "very slow."

"This particular outage, with the ice and the severity of it, it was pretty substantial for us," Mackie said. "But we are making progress. We've got our hospital back online, what we call our commercial strip with a lot of the grocery stores and gas stations back online."

Mackie said he wasn't sure when the city's power would be fully restored, but by 3 p.m. Thursday, the city's street lights were working again.

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