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Power fails at Homewood

May 23, 1998

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A power outage coupled with a generator failure sent fire and rescue personnel to Homewood at Williamsport Friday morning with emergency oxygen supplies.

"The generator did start but then it shut off and wouldn't restart," said Assistant Halfway Fire Chief Jeff Ringer. "There wasn't enough juice in the batteries to get it going again."

Homewood Executive Director Richard Lenehan said the generator failed.

Williamsport ambulance and fire personnel responded along with Halfway shortly after the 6:38 a.m. call to Homewood at 16505 Virginia Ave.

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"We had 19 oxygen units and used them to serve 13 patients in the main building," said Williamsport Ambulance Chief Dave Hays. "There was also one patient in a cottage who needed our oxygen."

Hays and Ringer praised the Homewood staff, which followed all the protocols in the institution's disaster plan.

"The nursing staff had things well in hand when we got there," Ringer said.

The original call for a power outage came at 6:11 a.m. at a Williamsport substation. The culprit was a squirrel, according to a spokesman at Allegheny Power.

Ringer said the power came back on at Homewood around 7:11 a.m., just as firefighters were attempting to use one of their fire truck batteries to provide power to Homewood's generator.

Lenehan said Homewood doesn't have round-the-clock maintenance, but workers are on call.

The nursing home has 140 patients, Lenehan said. There are 240 cottages with about 250 residents.

Elsewhere in the Williamsport community, residents of Virginia Avenue, Hampton Road, Appletree Lane, Decker Avenue, Wright Road, Sterling Road and several surrounding streets were affected.

The outage affected a total of 700 customers, according to Allegheny Power.

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