Neighbors Left Powerless in Heat

Power Was Off For More Than 24 Hours

By Chris Van Horne
|  Monday, Jun 20, 2011  |  Updated 6:54 PM CDT
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More than 40,000 people are still without power, according to ONCOR.

Chris Van Horne, NBCDFW.com

More than 40,000 people are still without power, according to ONCOR.

Strong winds knocked power out to thousands of customers across North Texas over the weekend. For one Fort Worth neighborhood it took nearly 27 hours, by residents' count, before their power was restored.

The lights and fans are back on at Fort Worth's Crestwood neighborhood after the wind knocked out transformers and a power line around 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Power wasn't restored to the 150 customers in the area though until 2 or 3 a.m. Monday, according to residents.

"About 27 hours is when the electricity came back on and by that point the food was already spoiled, ruined," resident Ana Garcia said.

Garcia, like many, bought bags of ice and coolers but they were no match for the heat as temperatures hit triple digits outside and in.

"It got 101 (Sunday) afternoon about 2 o'clock," said Tom Hile. "Inside my kitchen and I'm sitting in a chair with a towel over me."

Those hot temperatures inside forced some residents to spend the night out in their front yards in an effort to stay cool and keep on eye on the repairs.

"We were all congregating in the front yard, kicking back trying to stay cool," said Angie Cole.

Cole says neighbors were concerned because that downed line was on her neighbor's house across the street. The downed line wasn't spotted until Sunday morning when the Fort Worth Fire Department determined it wasn't live. 

The neighborhood was frustrated that it took Oncor so long to show up to restore power, especially given the dangerous temperatures.

"We've got people across the street who's on oxygen, my mother has heart problems, they're not the only two, we have disabled up and down this street," Cole said. "And I kept emphasizing that to Oncor, 'you don't understand these people need help, they're elderly and they can't stand the heat.'"

Oncor apologized for the delay, but says when the lines down report came in Sunday morning crews were inundated with emergency calls from Fort Worth to Mineral Wells and since the wire was not live, it took a lesser priority.

Oncor said it wasn't able to dispatch a crew to the scene until 6 p.m. and that power was back on by 6:20 Sunday evening. However, residents say power wasn't back until 2 or 3 a.m. Either way, it's something no one wants to experience again.

"Never, at least not in June or July," Cole said.

To complicate matters the residents said when crews finally arrived at 9 p.m., by their observations, there was another delay when a tree cutter knocked a limb into a gas meter. That caused a gas leak and the fire department to be called out again.

Hile says he was frustrated with the automated answering machines that Oncor uses, saying it would not record his address properly. Cole said she gave Oncor a good tongue lashing but also called to thank them for finally getting the power turned back on.

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