The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Some still sweltering as crews scramble
BY LINDLEY ESTES
This Independence Day, some Fredericksburg area residents are hoping to be liberated from the heat.
Dominion Power doesn’t expect to restore all of the power outages caused by last Friday’s “derecho” storms until Saturday, leaving thousands of residents still without electricity on a day when temperatures are expected to hit 94.
Of the more than 100,000 homes and businesses in the region who lost power, 8,395 remain. Though most localities in the Fredericksburg area have scaled back relief efforts, Stafford County remains under a local state of emergency for the foreseeable future and has the highest number of residents without power at 3,327.
Area residents without power say they’re still celebrating the Fourth, just not the way they initially planned.
Ryan Brosmer of Fredericksburg and girlfriend Tyler Jennings were moving into a new apartment on William Street when the power went out Friday. On Tuesday, they were still among 485 in the city without power.
“So far, we’ve been staying with my parents,” he said. “We might go down to Richmond [for the holiday] since we’re not going to be downtown for the best day to be.”
Brosmer is a longtime area resident and moved to downtown Fredericksburg two years ago. He said that made it easier to enjoy the Heritage Festival and other such events.
“It’s one of the things I love about being downtown,” he said. “You have all of that there and can get to air conditioning if it gets too hot. But without power, that benefit is gone.”
Sally Blackburn, who lives in the Mountain View area of Stafford, lost electricity in the storm, but she and her husband have been using a generator to power their home. Her father, who lives down the road from their farm, has no electricity.
“I’ve been bringing him to work with me during the day,” she said. “He needs to be in air conditioning.”
They will be spending the holiday at a cookout hosted by a friend who lives in the city.
“She has power,” she said. “And she has a pool, so it’s even better.”
Amanda Sacrey of Stafford said that though power has returned to her home, her grandmother, Patricia Martufi, is still without air conditioning.
“Thankfully we were able to safely move her pets to my house last night,” she said. “Her [home’s] interior temperature is 91 degrees right now.”
Martufi is staying with other family members. Sacrey said they will all celebrate the holiday together.
“The power isn’t hindering any celebrations that we had planned,” she said. “However, we are anxious to be able to get life back to normal for her.”
Dominion Power said the crews will work through the holiday to restore power to the affected areas.
“We’ll be working around the clock until power is back on for everyone,” said Dominion spokesman Karl Neddenien. “It’s all part of the job. You know when you join this profession that this is part of it. To them, the celebration comes at the end of the restoration when the lights are back on.”
About 1.2 million homes and businesses across the country remained without power Tuesday, 257,000 in Virginia. The death toll stood at 24, with 11 of those victims in Virginia.
Across the state, Dominion has 5,400 people working to restore power. This includes line crews from 16 other states and Canada. Hydro One of Ontario sent 70 workers, who are currently in the Alexandria area.
Neddenien said the mutual aid program that makes help from other localities possible is really just, “neighbors helping neighbors to get the lights back on.”
Some local businesses also expect to be without power for the holiday. The 7-Eleven on Amaret Street and Tire Tread on Bridgewater Street a block away are in a pocket without power near U.S. 1 in the city.
“We haven’t even seen the power company on the street,” said Tire Tread service manager and co-owner Kevin Cooper. “You would think as a business we would be a priority.”
Cooper said his shop has lost a significant amount of business since most of its machinery requires power.
“There’s nothing to lift cars with,” he said. “We can change larger tires that would have to be in the parking lot anyway and [state] inspections.”
Shahid Buriro, owner of the 7-Eleven on Amaret, said the store is currently running on a generator, but it is not powerful enough to keep the freezers cold. Buriro had to throw out at least $4,800 in perishable food.
He has set out a cooler and is giving free ice in cups to anyone who wants to cool the drinks they purchase.
He said people usually come in on the holiday to buy water, Gatorade, beer and hot dogs, but the store can’t keep any of it cool.
“It would be one of the busiest days,” Buriro said of the Fourth.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976