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Some still in dark

Thousands remain without power

Thousands remain without power

December 13, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD and JULIE E. GREENE

pepperb@herald-mail.com

julieg@herald-mail.com

TRI-STATE - Normally, Jane Kline would have gone to church Wednesday and then watched "Candid Camera" on television.

But the Klines were one of thousands of Tri-State area families without power Wednesday night in the wake of an ice storm that left some families in cold, dark homes and drivers avoiding fallen branches and trees in roadways.

As of late Thursday, 41,650 Allegheny Energy customers in the Tri-State area were still without power, spokesman Allen Staggers said. Most of those customers - 29,000 - were in Frederick County, Md., and northern Montgomery County, Md., he said. In Washington County, 3,700 customers remained without power.

Power was expected to be restored to most customers by Friday, though some may be without power until late Saturday, Staggers said. Workers were focusing on main power lines before repairing lines to individual homes.

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The utility called in 680 additional workers from service areas not affected and contract workers to help restore power, Staggers said. Workers had restored power to 50,000 customers in the four-state area since Wednesday's freezing rain. About 25,000 of those customers had power restored Thursday.

Allegheny Energy customers who have not yet reported having their power out may call the company's automated, outage-reporting system at 1-800-255-3443.

Hagerstown's City Light had restored power by Thursday evening to customers whose power was knocked out by the storm, according to the dispatch office.

Kline and her husband, Wade, 76, arrived at their 12305 Pleasant Valley Road home Wednesday night to find their power out and the remains of a pine tree scattered on the driveway.

With their church service canceled due to the treacherous weather and the power out, the Klines "didn't do much of anything" Wednesday night, Jane Kline said. "He sat in his chair and I sat in mine and we just watched the fire."

To conserve heat, the Klines closed off the upstairs and she slept on the couch next to the fireplace.

They used a kerosene lamp or flashlight to see. The couple has a gas stove and a generator to run their refrigerator.

Kline said that by Thursday, trees and power lines remained on the ground and telephone wires were threatening to fall.

"It looks terrible," said Kline, 72, of eastern Washington County.

Apparently, many residents affected by the power outages were making do at home or had found other places to stay because few shelters were being set up in the Tri-State area as of Thursday.

Washington County Emergency Management and American Red Cross officials determined shelters and warming stations were not needed as of Thursday, officials said.

Anyone in need of shelter may call the emergency management office at 240-313-2900 and ask to speak to an on-duty dispatcher.

The Brunswick (Md.) Volunteer Ambulance Co. was sheltering a few people Thursday evening and was expecting more people to spend the night, emergency medical technician Janet Moore said. The shelter would be open until the town's power is restored, she said.

Most of the fire companies in Franklin County, Pa., had opened their doors to anyone in need of temporary shelter, according to the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services.

Anyone requiring shelter or who has a special need in Franklin County may call the Department of Emergency Services at 1-717-267-2801.

In West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, shelters had been set up in the Martinsburg Mall's community room and at the Jefferson County Senior Center in Ranson, W.Va., but those shelters were closed by Thursday.

Many people without power at home found other places to stay, said Steve Allen, director of the Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services.

The number of Allegheny Energy customers without power in the Panhandle fluctuated as additional outages were reported overnight Wednesday and crews worked to repair those reported earlier, spokesman Mike Grandillo said.

Grandillo said as many as 14,000 customers were without power following the storm, though not all at the same time.

As of late Thursday, about 6,700 customers were still without power in the Panhandle and 2,250 customers in Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania were without power, Staggers said.

The outages caused Jefferson County Schools to close Blue Ridge Elementary and T.A. Lowery Elementary schools today, according to the school system's Web site.

In Maryland, Washington County Public Schools were closed Thursday because of trees blocking roadways, according to the school system's Web site.

In Frederick County, eight schools were closed Thursday because of power outages, according to the school system's Web site. Those schools included Brunswick High School and Linganore High School.

The outage in Brunswick led to one man burning his hands as he tried to put out a fire caused when a candle burned a pillow at around 3 a.m. Thursday, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office.

On Thursday night, Jeremy Lindsay, 22, of 617 Brunswick St., was listed in fair condition at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., with second- and third-degree burns on both hands, according to the fire marshal's office and a hospital spokeswoman.

Staff writer Dave McMillion contributed to this story.

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