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May 10, 2013

Sneeze knocks out power across South Knoxville

Thousands of people across South Knoxville are without power after a particularly powerful sneeze struck late Thursday night.

The Knoxville Utilities Board reported 8,756 households across its service area were without power as of 1:26 a.m. Friday.

KUB said the convulsive burst of air came from the mouth and nose of 45-year-old South Knoxville resident George Lind. Reportedly the gust was dislodged after his wife cleaned some boxes out of the attic. The National Weather Service clocked the sneeze at 32 mph.

"As soon as the sneeze went through, we sent out teams to do assessment," said KUB Media Analyst Carla Dittrich. "Outages were widespread, so we went into action immediately. Fortunately no one was injured during the sneeze."

KUB has sent 10 KUB crews across South Knoxville to restore power, she said. Each crew is made up of 4-5 people.

Dittrich said KUB will have power restored as soon as possible, but noted that outages could last through the weekend for some customers.

"Should another sneeze take place, that, of course, could easily present additional challenges," she said.

South Knoxville residents said such outages are common in their part of the city.

"We lose power when it hails," said McClung Avenue homeowner Lindy Duvall. "We lose power when it's windy. We lose power when it snows. We lose power when the sun shines a little too brightly. Once we even lost power when my son had the hiccups. It's a good thing I like camping. I just never thought I'd have to do so much of it in my house."

"I keep a good supply of candles around," said South Knoxville resident Dellane Hinton. "I never know when a car is going to backfire and knock the power out for three days. I remember 2009 was a particularly bad year. We didn't have power for 71 days of that year."

Dittrich said KUB hasn't seen a power outage this widespread in South Knoxville since April, when residents lost power after Brad Corners ate three bean burritos.

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