Sandy Poses Halloween Risk

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CLEVELAND – City leaders are telling parents not to take their children trick-or-treating this weekend because of downed power lines left by Superstorm Sandy.

"Out of an abundance of caution we think it's best to discourage trick-or-treating," said Cleveland's Chief Operating Officer Darnell Brown.

Thursday afternoon, 12-year-old Gasia Thomas touched a fallen power line on E. 130th Street and was critically injured.

Friday night she remained in the intensive care unit at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma, a hospital spokesperson said.

They city is holding FirstEnergy accountable for hundreds of potentially hazardous downed wires.

"We will monitor the activities of FirstEnergy and Cleveland Public Power until we have a level of confidence that risk to the public has been mitigated," Brown said.

FirstEnergy said since the storm they have received more than 6,000 reports of downed wires, and those reports continue to come in.

Since Gasia was critically shocked, police and FirstEnergy personnel were blocking off areas where downed lines were reported.

In a statement, FirstEnergy said, in part:

“We are aggressively working to address approximately 900 remaining reports of hazards across the CEI service territory area. We have 269 hazard teams responding to those reports.”

FirstEnergy spokesperson Jennifer Young said all of the known hazards in the City of Cleveland would be fixed by Friday night.

However, Young and city leaders agree that they are only aware of downed wires already reported by the public and there is likely more out there, yet undiscovered.

"We believe there are some unknown risks out there that we are not aware of or FirstEnergy may not be aware of," Brown said.

Gasia's friends and neighbors hope people heed the city's warning and forgo trick-or-treating this year.

"That's why I think it's kind of good, because of what happened, they just want everyone to stay put and be safe," said Gasia’s friend, Harry Dunn.

City leaders are urging parents to take their children to one of the “Big City Boo” Halloween celebrations at the Cleveland recreation centers Saturday from 6-8 p.m.

If you see a downed wire or a potential power hazard you should call 1-888-LIGHTSS and report it.

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