RICHLAND COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – For the third day, thousands of people in parts of Northeast Ohio are cleaning up from this week’s storms and still living with this sweltering heat without power.
Crews from outside the area have come in to help restore electricity.
“The power, we don’t have it. We’ve been four days without it,” said Clear Fork resident Ed Allen.
Power crews are spread all across Richland County Thursday as they work in oppressive heat to restore power to thousands of people who lost it during powerful storms that blew through the area Monday night into Tuesday morning.
“It looked like someone had taken a saw and just sawed the trees. Big trees. Just like, they’re gone,” said Butler resident Phil Reeder.
The damage is widespread.
Restoring power is complicated by the massive trees that fell on many lines. Hazard responders from FirstEnergy first went out to assess damage to let line crews know what needs to be repaired and the hazards they’ll encounter while doing it.
“What we try to do is make it as safe as possible for the public. So you might see electrical hazard tape roped off somewhere identifying that in that area there could be some wires down, some potential damage to people that might not recognize it,” said FirstEnergy worker Matthew Kasinecz.
Behind Clear Fork High School, FirstEnergy provided 3,000 gallons of free water and 3,000 bags of free ice.
“This is very nice that they’re doing this for us. We appreciate it very much. It’s helping. We have three dogs, so it’s helping our dogs and also our plants and us,” said Allen.
“We were just running out of water, I mean to drink, so this is really a blessing to be honest with you and then I told the grandkids, ‘get in,’ so we could get you some water, so it’s really nice that they’re doing this for us,” said Reeder.
FirstEnergy say they have more than 200 contractors and crews from sister utilities helping with the restoration efforts.
The power company says crews must travel to individual locations to make repairs, which is the most time-consuming, labor intensive part of the job.
“The damage down here during this particular storm, I’d have to say out of a 10, let’s say probably a 7 or 7 and a half. I mean, a lot of gigantic trees have come down, just taken down numerous things, wires, poles, just a lot of big trees is really the biggest issue,” said Kasinecz.
FirstEnergy say they expect to have the majority of affected customers back up and running by late this evening, but some people in the hardest-hit areas could be without power until tomorrow.