Tens of thousands still without power after devastating ice storm
Published Thursday, December 26, 2013 6:40PM EST Last Updated Friday, December 27, 2013 6:42AM EST
Five days with no heat, no hot water, and no electricity.
Tens of thousands remain without power across the province after the devastating ice storm that started Saturday, Dec. 21 – a storm that's now being called one of the worst in the province's history.
And many families say they've had enough.
It's only 10C inside Valerie Curtis's home near Orangeville but it would be even colder if it wasn't for a small electric heater and a generator powering it. Power went out five days ago during the ice storm but she says she won't be able to stay here much longer.
“I have to have it back on today,” she says. “We won't be able to stay here in the house. Five days is long enough, it's been a tough battle to continue through the days and the nights.”
As of today 4,400 Hydro One customers in the Orangeville area are still without power. Power is also out in pockets around Caledon East and Bolton.
The problem is tree branches on power lines and it’s easy to see why it's taking time to get everybody reconnected. Damage is widespread and crews still have an enormous amount of work to do.
There are thousands of locations in wooded areas where broken trees are sitting on the lines. Hydro crews must manually remove them all before the power can be restored. More workers and equipment arrived today from outside of the area to help.
Cheryl Edmonds was happy to see a crew working near her home in Caledon but is frustrated that it’s taking so long to fix.
“Sure there are lots of people out, but there are people with small children and animals,” she says. “Our house was 4C yesterday. So it’s cold.”
Jody Schneider says her power was only out briefly but is concerned the worst is yet to come because there is still so much ice on the wires and in the trees
“If we get a big wind it's going to break some more limbs. I know that,” she says.
Despite the challenges facing many residents here during the holidays Curtis managed to cook a turkey and spend Christmas at home. She says her husband is dying of cancer and she wasn't about to give up.
“My family was wanting me to come down to the city and I said you know what with my husband the way he is and my mother being blind, they don't want to leave the house, so I said I will make it work and I did, we had and we had a great Christmas,” she says.
Hydro One is hoping to have the power restored to most customers in the Orangeville area by 11 p.m. tomorrow night.
Crews say they now have 140 men working in the area and another 24 foresters have been brought in to help.