By CBSBoston.com Staff

LOWELL (CBS) — A tree fell over and knocked out multiple utility poles and power lines in Lowell, leaving many in the Centralville area without power.

“All the lines fell. By the grace of God, my grandson’s OK,” said Donna Stours, looking at the mess she says her family members were dangerously close to. A huge tree came down out of the blue Wednesday morning, taking down five utility poles connected by wires and cables on Hildreth Street in Lowell. “The transformer blew. There was lightening everywhere,” said Stours.

A tree has blocked off traffic and knocked out power for thousands after falling over. (WBZ-TV)

Ken Alquist was asleep in his apartment when one of the poles crashed down next to his building. “Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anything else like it,” he said. “The only thing I can compare to, is like a Tesla coil exploding. It was like … vibrating, and three or four at the time.”

Lowell Fire Chief Phillip Charron said it was unclear what caused the tree to fall. “We were very lucky. It didn’t involve any vehicles. It didn’t involve any pedestrians. I mean it’s a Wednesday morning, so we were very, very lucky,” he said. In another stroke of luck, Charron said the power went out immediately, eliminating any danger of live wires in the neighborhood.

“We were always worried about that,” said Karen Atkinson, as she looked at the tree. She said neighbors have been concerned about its size and age. “I always expected it to happen in the winter. I never expected it today. The ground must be soggy, I guess, from all the rain.”

When it first happened, police reported about 3,000 people had lost power. By evening, that number had dropped significantly, but National Grid did not expect the neighborhood to be fully restored until early Thursday morning.

CBSBoston.com Staff