D.C. Storm: power outages, security, concerns as region recovers
It’s been five days now since a deadly storm downed power lines and thrust hundreds of thousands of residents into the dark. But many still remain without power and are suffering through a heat wave.
Friday’s massive storm left at least 11 people in the D.C. region dead. Trees and branches crashed down on houses and vehicles and many trees are still littering roadways.
More than 150,000 are without power in the Washington area. This is causing tensions to run high. See updated outage numbers here.
Pepco said on Wednesday that they've restored power to 90 percent who lost service. But for the remaining 10 percent, who are left without air conditioning in near 100 degree heat, this news comes as little comfort.
Dearra is 7-years-old. She has a traumatic brain injury, uses a wheelchair and is on a feeding tube and breathing machine. But with no power, her equipment is rendered useless. She’s dehydrating. Her medicine is melting. Her family took her to a relative’s house which was not handicap accessible so they had to bring her home today.
Others in similar circumstances are also trying to survive.
Tracey Corbin's 18-year-old son also uses a wheelchair. She has been trying to keep her son cool in the heat. But feeding her family is near-impossible because food is spoiling.
Another worry now is security. Dina Zupnik is concerned about her four children. She's feels that the power outage is making them vulnerable to an intruder because they leave their windows open. The growl of the generator creates even more concern.
“I can't hear necessarily anyone coming in over the generator,” she says.
No power means security systems are off. When the sun sets, the unbroken darkness consumes entire neighborhoods. This is another worry for resident Justin Hall.
“If people's house lights aren't on you can't see anyone walking through,” he says. “I've been sleeping in the basement. My parents have been sleeping down here. It gets hot so they leave the windows open.”
Those who are staying with their homes say they try to look out for the houses where neighbors have retreated to places with power. They stand out because the windows and doors are closed.
While there haven't been widespread reports of power-outage break-ins, security is just another reason people want their electricity on.
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