Man has close call as pole crashes down in parking lot

Barb
Barb Sweet
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This light pole crashed in the parking lot of Wal-Mart on Kelsey Drive in St. John's on Christmas Eve.

As Blair LeDrew was crossing a parking lot midday Christmas Eve, he got a shocking start when a light pole came crashing down.

LeDrew had just finished parking his car and was headed into Wal-Mart on Kelsey Drive in St. John's to finish shopping.

"Another 30 seconds or so and I could have been struck," he said Friday.

"Out of my peripheral vision, I saw something brown. Here's this pole almost in slow motion, bang."

LeDrew said he now wonders what the safety procedures are for checking light poles in parking lots.

An assistant manager at the store told The Telegram Friday the remaining poles have been inspected but would not comment further on the cause of the crash.

LeDrew noted there are more than two-dozen light poles in the parking lot of the seven-year-old Wal-Mart.

"This would be a pretty heavy safety hazard," LeDrew said, noting the weather was gusty that day and poles were swaying.

"It didn't hit anything. That's the stroke of luck right there."

As he was going through the checkout, LeDrew mentioned the incident to the cashier, who said the store was aware.

When he got back outside, there was caution tape around the downed pole.

"I'll be feeling a lot different in parking lots on a windy day from here on in," LeDrew said.

He said he's concerned about public safety and noted people don't tend to look up when they are crossing parking lots.

"Because if nothing is done, when the next one falls, who will be around when it does fall? My goal here is for public awareness," he said.

He said while the poll didn't look badly deteriorated on the outside, it cracked near the joint where the pole is attached to the mounting flange.

"It might have been rusty or fatigued," he said.

bsweet@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Wal-Mart

Geographic location: St. John's

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  • Mike
    December 30, 2012 - 21:00

    The same thing happened at Dominion in Mount Pearl last month.

  • W Bagg
    December 29, 2012 - 07:50

    saw a couple blow down in the Health Science Parking lot about 2-3 years ago. All that holds them up is 4 bolts that are set in concrete that are constantly fatigueing under compression and tension forces due to the wind swaying the poles. Incorrect torquing will cause premature failure.