LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal TribuneAmeer Jihad sits at the Saco Transportation Center on Tuesday morning.

LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal TribuneAmeer Jihad sits at the Saco Transportation Center on Tuesday morning.

SACO — Ameer Jihad got up early Tuesday morning to take a 5:42 a.m. train to Boston for a critical medical appointment.

At 9 a.m. Jihad was still waiting for a train to Boston, as were others at the Saco Transportation Center. Early morning trains were canceled due to storm-related power outages along the route. 

Jihad said he had rheumatoid arthritis, causing pain and swelling in his knees and feet, making it difficult at times to walk. He said he had an appointment with a doctor in Boston that morning and had hoped he would get some answers regarding treatment.

“I have to see the doctor, there’s no getting around it,” he said.

Jihad was taking it all in stride and trying to stay positive. He called the doctor’s office and explained his situation, and was hopeful he would be able to see the doctor and get some relief from his pain. He was charging his phone at the transportation station, something he was unable to do at home where he had no power, and was texting back and forth with his daughter in Massachusetts for support. 

Unfortunately, Jihad and others looking to catch a train to Boston Tuesday morning were out of luck, as Amtrak Downeaster later announced all morning trains were canceled.

The recent storm that brought heavy rains and strong winds Sunday night into Monday morning caused the highest number of power outages in Central Maine Power’s 118 year history, exceeding numbers from a 1998 ice storm.

“Our crews are working as quickly and safely as possible, and we ask people to refrain from approaching them with questions that can slow their work and create safety concerns,” said CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice in a written statement. “We encourage customers to go to our website for restoration updates, and let our crews focus on safety as they go about their tasks.”

CMP reported Tuesday morning that 500 line and tree workers from as far away as Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia were expected to arrive that day to join the 1,000 people already working to repair and restore downed lines and clear debris.

As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, 50,020 of York County’s 119,733 customers were still out of power. 

Many municipalities were offering services to those who were out of power on Monday and Tuesday.

Although trains may not have been running, the City of Saco was welcoming residents to the transportation center on Main Street to charge electronic devices and use the restrooms.

Goodwins Mills Fire and Rescue in Lyman, which serves Lyman and Dayton, invited locals beginning Monday afternoon to come in and fill up jugs of water or charge cell phones. 
Lt. Dylan Martin said Tuesday there’d been a lot of people coming into the station. Martin said the station would continue the service until power was restored.

Saco Sports and Fitness in Saco was also opening its doors to the community, offering a free shower to anyone who needed one. 

In Wells, the local elementary school was open Tuesday morning for anyone who needed to warm up or take a shower.

Local residents who needed water could stop by fire departments in Alfred, Limerick, Shapleigh, Waterboro and Sanford. The Limerick Fire Station was also welcoming people who needed water, asking people to call the station first if they needed to come in outside of the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. staffed hours. 

In Ogunquit, police were making visual inspections of seasonal properties and asking those from away who have homes in town and would like their summer home checked on to call the police department at 646-9362.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected] 

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