December 27, 2013

Michigan residents still without power growing frustrated

Some leave their houses and go elsewhere while others endure the outages at home.

By David Eggert And Corey Williams
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Ice from Monday’s storm still clings to branches as Ken Finnegan loads his truck with firewood Thursday in Litchfield. With electricity out, some Maine residents seek alternative ways to heat their homes.

The Associated Press / Robert F. Bukaty

The Ace Hardware store in Ortonville, Mich., was flooded with people looking for items that would help get them through the power outages, according to manager Tim Tyler.

“Five-gallon gas cans went out extremely fast,” he said. “Little propane tanks went fasts. Plug-ins for generators, extension cords, batteries, lanterns.”

The one item Tyler didn’t have in stock: portable, gas-powered generators.

“If I had a boatload or truckload I would have sold all of them,” he said Friday afternoon, nearly a week after the massive ice storm began sliding through. “People were calling and asking if we had any, and we didn’t. This whole town was out of power for over 24 hours. Some are starting to come back now.”

Until the storm, generators “just weren’t in demand,” Tyler added.

“If you bring in a whole bunch, they sit a lot,” he said. “You have to think about, ‘Should I bring a boatload of them in? No I should not.’ But I’ll bring a few in now.”

Besides the ice, falling branches and vicious cold, just keeping warm for some became dangerous. Five people apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning tied to using gas-powered generators for heat and light.

Carbon monoxide is called an “invisible killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental nonfire-related carbon monoxide poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Other products include faulty, improperly used or incorrectly vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.

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