Man climbs Clark County substation, power cut to thousands, negotiators talk him down

Northeastern schools among those affected by power outage

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

A man who had climbed up an Ohio Edison substation in Northridge in Clark County today came down after almost four hours.

Electricity was shut off to the substation, leaving more than 2,400 customers in the area without power, including nearby schools.

Deputies responded to the substation in Moorefield Township at 11:57 a.m. after reports of a man climbing the fence and entering the substation, according to Lt. Dustin White with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arrived to find the man on top of the substation.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

The substation is along Moorefield Road near Taywell Drive.

Ohio Edison turned the power off within five minutes, White said, but the power had been on when the man entered the substation, adding that it was only “by the grace of God that he’s still here.”

The lieutenant said that the sheriff’s office called in two negotiators from the Springfield Police Division who were able to develop a rapport with the man and convince him to climb down.

The man was threatening to jump from the substation, and had a knife which he threw down after speaking with negotiators, White said.

About 3:40 p.m., the man climbed back down safely, and a crowd of onlookers cheered. He had superficial wounds where he may have tried to hurt himself, White said, and he was very tired and thirsty from holding himself up on top of the substation.

He was taken into the back of a Clark County Sheriff’s Office cruiser.

White said he was taken to the hospital for an evaluation, and that the sheriff’s office would be consulting with the prosecutor’s office on any potential charges.

Traffic in the area was disrupted by the emergency response and because of the power outage.

Northeastern School District, located in the township, reported on its website that its schools — Kenton Ridge, Northridge and Rolling Hills — are currently without power and phone service.

“All students are safe, and the buildings are operating normally,” the website announcement said.

Northeastern School District spokesperson Steffanie Stratton told the News-Sun that the district will communicate with families via the district’s all-call system as a result of the phone service outage. Students will be released from the buildings impacted by the power outage at their regular time.

White stressed the extreme danger the man was in when he entered the substation, saying, “If he had touched the wrong two things at same time, it would have been the path of least resistance and he would have been electrocuted.”

He also said that there are hotlines to call if you are having suicidal thoughts, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which operates a text line in Clark, Greene and Madison counties which you can contact by texting NAMI to 741 741.

The lieutenant was very complimentary of the negotiators, saying they did an “absolute quality job” and that he didn’t know how they would have had the situation solved today without them.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby