Dec 24, 2013

By Jane Brown

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Mayor Rob Ford says Toronto Hydro crews have made significant progress overnight in restoring power after the big ice storm on the weekend.  “I’m very proud to say this morning, we’re down to 115,000.  Crews have arrived from Ottawa and Windsor,” explained Ford,” We’re working 24-7.  We had 50 crews working overnight, and the problem will be the last 50,000 because they’re called one offs, meaning they are one house per street.”

At the height of the power outage, 300,000 Toronto Hydro customers were without electricity.  Mayor Ford and other city of Toronto staff provided an update on storm response and impact at 8am today.  “Scarborough’s probably the worst hit area.  We’re concentrating on that.  There’s still a lot of people out in North York and Etobicoke, but Scarborough is definitely the hardest hit area.”

The city is aiming for Thursday (Boxing Day) or Friday to restore all of the power.  Hydro CEO Anthony Haines explains how electricity is restored to the worst hit neighbourhoods.  “Our crew would then attend a home.  There would be no doubt tree branches laying on the property with the lines underneath them.  And so they would, with the help of the forestry group, they would clear those out of the way and restore service to that home.  And then they would move to the next one, and then the next one.”

Toronto Hydro spokesperson Christina Basil advicses those left in the cold and the dark to look for other accommodations.  “If you have a family member of friends who have power, we encourage you to try and go somewhere where you can be safe and warm and comfortable.  The city has a number of warming stations open so you can take advantage of those.  We know that it’s frustrating and we want everyone to know that we’re doing all that we can to get the power back on as quickly as possible,” Basil explained this morning.

An attempt to stay warm turned deadly for a 52 year old man and his 72 year old mother in Newcastle, Ontario.  Durham police say a gas power generator had been set up in their garage to supply electricity, but carbon monoxide seeped into their home leading to their deaths. Here in Toronto, five people were taken to hospital from a home in the Danforth area with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Four others were taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning at a restaurant near Yonge and Sheppard where a generator was running inside.  They are all expected to recover.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford spent part of yesterday touring some of the city’s warming centres.  He also promised to stay on the job, even if it means missing Christmas.  “We’re going to stay here everyday including Christmas Day, until every lights back on in the city.  We have excellent committed staff here and I want to thank them for their long and enduring hours.”  For a list of the city’s warming centres, which now include 2 schools and 13 Toronto Police divisions, click here.

Good news if you take GO Transit.  Buses and trains are running on a regular weekday schedule.  There is still no service on the TTC Sheppard subway line because of no power.  The rest of the TTC is operating as usual.



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