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    Strong Winds Knock Down 1,500-Pound Business Sign

    Erik Sine
    By Erik Sine, 04bb39f1e985b9ed634abc1b38c6c811

    Strong Winds Knock Down 1,500-Pound Business Sign

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    PHARR — Strong winds from Tuesday night’s storms knocked down a business sign, snapping a power pole in half. The alert about the fallen sign came from an unexpected source.

    While many slept soundly in their homes, Joe Gonzalez was looking for shelter under a restaurant’s canopy.

    “Being homeless like that, I get to see things that normal people don't get to see,” he said.

    Gonzalez witnessed the business sign rock back and forth and then plummet to the ground. He’s formed connections with managers along the business district in Pharr.

    Regional Church’s Chicken facilities services manager Noel Pena said, “People let him use properties all over the city, and I’m sure if you talk to Stripes, he probably has some connection with them or something."

    Gonzalez sprang into action after seeing the sign fall.

    “I went over to Stripes to call 911. Of course, it was raining fierce,” he said.

    Pena said it was strong winds that knocked down the 1,500-pound sign.

    “A lot of those signs were not built for that kind of wind load,” said Jason Arms, City of Pharr emergency management coordinator. “According to the power company, we did get a report that there was short circuit in the main trunk line, and that does tie into that system, so it could be related.”

    Gonzalez said he’ll continue to keep an eye on the sky and watch for storms. He said he’ll be ready to respond again, if needed.

    Arms said the winds that ripped through the city were between 60 and 80 miles per hour. Crews are working to put up new poles and wires. The business sign will also go back up.

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