Solon tries to provide help during power outages, bitter cold and pandemic

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SOLON, Ohio (WJW)– After being buried beneath more than a foot of heavy wet snow, hundreds of Solon residents are now dealing with sustained power outages.

“A lot of power outages, a lot of wires down and a lot of wet snow which makes it even more difficult,” said Mayor Edward Kraus. “Much of their work was initially trees and wires before they can even work on getting the circuits up and running again.”

Thousands across Northeast Ohio remained without power Wednesday night for the very same reason.

FirstEnergy brought in extra crews, who have been working around the clock, but the work is arduous and takes time.

“We’re looking at a lot of localized issues which are the most time consuming repairs because they require crews to go out to each job locations to restore power and that job may only restore power to one or 20 people,” said FirstEnergy spokesperson Lauren Siburkis.

And the pandemic is only making matters worse. Many businesses are closed or do not have in-person seating, and popup warming centers are limited and more difficult to manage.

“We didn’t want to go anywhere because of the pandemic,” Enid Friedman said.

She and her husband David lost power Tuesday and were told it would not be restored until Thursday night at 11 p.m.

“Food is a challenge. You don’t want to throw everything away, you can’t charge your phone, you can’t charge anything,” David said. “And well I work out of my home and I have no power so I can’t work.”

To help its residents, the city of Solon opened the recreation center and is keeping it open around the clock following CDC COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“Wearing masks, maintaining distance,” David Peleg said. “We’ve got some cots and blankets, and if they do need to spend the night of course there is ample room in the facility. We can spread the cots out so people will be safe at all times.”

They’re also checking on elderly residents; while hoping the power is restored very soon.

“We want to make sure we try and reach out to everyone, hotels are filled with folks,” Kraus said. “Do the best we can to get through it.”

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