Chaos at Walmart — Power Outage 2015

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March 21,2015.

For 6000 residents of Carleton Place, Beckwith, and as faraway as Stittsville, Saturday morning will be a day to be remembered. Mid-morning, a transformer blew causing a 1/3 of the hydro pole near the entrance to the Carleton Place Walmart to collapse. Correction:  RG just sent me a note: Not to be a stickler but there was no transformer on that pole most likely a broken isolator sent voltage into the wooden pole starting the fire.

Our Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum curator, Jennifer Fenwick Irwin was one of the customers caught in the incident. She had just completed her transaction at Dollarama when the power went out. Customers were instructed to leave the store immediately. As the power was still on in Walmart, customers were allowed to shop. However, as soon as Hydro One showed up to repair the damage, Walmart made an announcement that shoppers had 10 minutes to exit.

Exiting the store rolled into confusion as the doors had shut. Jennifer said someone pried open the interior doors, but the outer doors remained closed. Discussion among the shoppers led them all to exit by the side “buggy” doors. The ordeal was now over, however, local residents had to remain in their cars for over an hour in the parking lot due to safety concerns.

Jennifer assured me that everyone was calm and polite,however some joked: had the snow not been so deep some would have driven their 4×4’s through the rear field to the nearest street.

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Personally, I am concerned that having only one exit from the shopping area is of concern. What if there had been a larger emergency? The fact that there is only a single road leading out is a safety-design issue. Is this even legal? I think the powers to be should seriously think about extending a road to neighbouring Tim Horton’s. On a good note Hydro One worked hard and resolved the 10 hour issue, Milano Pizza offered to warm food, and citizens banded together. It was noted widely on Facebook that the beer store remained opened all day.


Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte.  available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

11 responses »

  1. Everything this town does is a 10 year plan, probably why nothing ever gets done. With so many change in Mayor-ship… different visions, awful planning departments… Carleton Place lacks vision and is stuck in the past going nowhere…

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  2. Good point, Linda. Perhaps it’s because we live in a rural area, so it’s assumed that we’ll all escape across the fields in our 4-wheel drives. Not!

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  3. Not to be a stickler but there was no transformer on that pole most likely a broken isolator sent voltage into the wooden pole starting the fire.

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