CHATHAM — A near-disaster was avoided Thursday in Chatham due to quick thinking by Chatham firefighters with assistance from the Columbia County 911 dispatchers, Chatham Fire Chief Eric Barnes said Thursday.

At about 5:15 a.m., a box truck struck a utility pole on Railroad Avenue in the area of Murray Street. The accident brought down live power lines on Railroad Avenue and across the CSX railroad tracks.

Officials stopped rail traffic before a train could collide with the 30,000-volt power line, Barnes said. A train was about 10 minutes away from the scene.

The accident knocked out power to several hundred customers in the village, Mayor John Howe said. Power was out along Main Street, including village hall.

New York State Electric and Gas crews worked to get everyone back online by afternoon. Traffic on Railroad Avenue was detoured over Main Street while utility companies worked.

The truck driver, Jerry Pierre, 28, of West Orange, New Jersey, was ticketed by state police, State Police Troop K Public Information Officer Aaron Hicks said.

Details on the cause of the accident and the charges against the truck driver were not immediately clear.

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