Thousands still without power after this week’s strong storms


CLEVELAND (WJW) – As storms continued to batter Northeast Ohio Friday evening, thousands of people still have no power after Wednesday’s round of severe weather.

As of 9 p.m. Friday evening, roughly 18,000 customers were without power in the FirstEnergy coverage area, with about 5,700 in Cuyahoga County.

First Energy Outage Map

“I’m hot, sweaty, sticky, tired, not good,” said Sandy Spokas of Brook Park.

It’s been several frustrating days for Spokas after powerful winds on Wednesday knocked a huge tree into her yard on Michael Drive in Brook Park. The tree took downed power lines, crushed a fence and nearly took up her entire backyard. She still isn’t certain how much damage has been done.

“Gone to a few restaurants in the neighborhood just to sit and cool and charge these phones,” she said.

Spokas says she called FirstEnergy about 30 minutes after it happened. Spokas says 11 houses on her side of the street are impacted.

“I’ve checked with them three other times, I’ve gone on the website to see and it says awaiting dispatch, so we’re just waiting for someone to come rescue us,” she said.

“I know that everybody wants their power back up and running and we know it’s difficult to be without power, especially in this heat, but it’s a really time-consuming process,” said Lauren Siburkis, spokesperson for FirstEnergy.

As our crew was about to leave Spokas’ house, two First Energy employees from the Toledo area stopped by to assess the situation on her street. The company brought in dozens of outside contractors and crews from sister utilities to help out.

“We have hundreds, even thousands of damaged locations and public safety hazards caused by the downed trees and debris that falls onto our equipment… That often leads to downed power lines, which are a major safety issue to the public,” said Siburkis.

People who live in Bay Village, which was hit hard by the storm, also spent the day hoping their electricity would return.

FOX 8 crews returned to Oakmoor Avenue where a massive tree had fallen across the street. Friday evening, the city had removed most of it, the street was reopened and Kyle Larson’s mother and neighbors had power again.

“My son jumped out of the truck and started walking up the driveway and he’s like ‘Oh, the power’s on, the light’s on in the living room,” said Larson.

Back in Brook Park, Sandy is also trying to keep her food from going bad. Still, she feels lucky.

“I’m OK, the dogs are OK, the house is OK… This other stuff is stuff,” Spokas said.

FirstEnergy officials say the hardest-hit areas in Cuyahoga County still experiencing outages include Bay Village, Lakewood, parts of Cleveland and Cleveland Heights.

Siburkis says due to high winds and lightning that blew through the area earlier Friday evening, crews were unable to go up in buckets and had to stop working for a while.

Some people now may not have the lights on until late Saturday.

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