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Turbine damage hits close to home

DANVILLE -- Some homeowners in Vermilion County woke to a scary sound, but storms weren't in the area.
DANVILLE -- Some homeowners in Vermilion County woke to a scary sound, but storms weren't in the area. It turns out the sound came from a wind farm next door. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau finds out what happened.

It was the sound of a wind turbine breaking. Two blades completely fell off. It's about a 328' fall.

"I was in our living room here and I just heard the loudest crash. It sounded like two trains colliding."

But, the crash was much closer. Just outside Priscilla Pruitt's home was this.

"This morning, when I got up, and I opened all the blinds, I looked across and I was like, 'that was not a train It was the blades off the windmill.'"

It's just the latest headache for homeowners near these farms.

"If it's really windy or rainy, you can hear them. It's noisy. If the sun's in the right position, it causes a strobe-light effect in the house, whether we close the blinds or not to the point it gives you a headache. Makes you nauseous. We don't have any beds in our bedrooms at our house. We all sleep in the living room because it's the quietest place."

It's not the first time one of these machines broke. Last November, a blade from a wind turbine near Potomac, off Route 49, got tangled up in itself. No one was hurt, but it has people questioning their safety.

"That's my concern living as close as I am."

"Each time we email them, and ask them to turn them off, or take care of it, we realized we're asking permission to sleep in our own house."

Invenergy is the company which owns them. It released the following statement:

        At approximately 9 pm last night, a blade on a turbine broke off
        and fell to the ground near the base of the turbine. We believe
        that, as this blade fell, it hit a second blade on the same turbine,
        causing that second blade also to break off and fall to the ground
        near the base. As designed, the turbine automatically ceased
        operation. No one was injured. We are working with G.E., the
        turbine manufacturer, to determine the cause of this accident.
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