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Baltimore, MD - Sweltering Orthodox Baltimoreans Face Days Without Power

Published on: July 1, 2012 11:30 AM
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Workers use a golf cart to carry branches from a tree that fell onto the 14th fairway at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., Saturday, June 30, 2012, after a strong storm blew through overnight. The AT&T National golf tournament was postponed to allow workers to clear the course. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Workers use a golf cart to carry branches from a tree that fell onto the 14th fairway at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., Saturday, June 30, 2012, after a strong storm blew through overnight. The AT&T National golf tournament was postponed to allow workers to clear the course. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Baltimore, MD - Baltimore residents are bracing for another grueling day in the aftermath of Friday night’s devastating storm, as over 300,000 homes remain without power and temperatures are expected to top 100 degrees this afternoon.

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While Baltimore Gas and Electric has restored power to over 270,000 customers, residents are warned that service may not be restored until the end of the week, due to the magnitude of the powerful but rare storm, known as a derecho, that inflicted catastrophic damage to power grids in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.  A state of emergency has been declared in all four states.

Compounding the problem for Baltimore’s Jewish residents is Baltimore Gas and Electric’s system that prioritizes repair calls by the order in which they are received, a policy that has been devastating for Orthodox Jewish residents who were unable to call the utility company over Shabbos to notify them of their outages.

“Not a single Jewish family in our area has had their power restored as of yet,” Isaiah Cox of Shomrim told VIN News.  “The only truck that anyone saw in the entire area yesterday came to restore the power of one influential city official who lives in the area.  He got his power restored.  No one else did.  There are downed trees everywhere, blocking roads, on people’s houses and in some cases, in people’s houses.”

“Shomrim is working with Hatzalah and Chaveirim,” said Nathan Willner, the attorney for Shomrim.  “Shomrim has been out checking up on residents, particularly the elderly.  It is pretty intimidating to have this many houses without power.  At night, it is total blackness and you realize how much we rely on our electricity.”

According to Cox, at least half of the area is without electricity.

“We are very concerned about looters, although we aren’t aware of any looting currently going on,” reported Cox.  “Everyone has their windows open, no one has an alarm system, most people don’t even have working phones and there is no police response, all of which is a recipe for trouble in this area.  Because they don’t expect power back for several days people are contemplating moving out, but are worried what that their houses might be broken into if they leave.”

Shomrim is cautioning all residents who remain without power to keep their windows open due to the oppressive heat that is expected today.

“Our guess is that in this heat, there is no security risk in keeping your windows open during the day,” advised Cox.  “Keeping your windows closed in this heat creates a far more dangerous situation.”

Shomrim is requesting that anyone with working cell phone service who knows a Baltimore resident who has lost power call Baltimore Gas and Electric to report the power outage on their behalf at 877-778-2222.  They also expressed their appreciation to Lakewood Shomrim who offered to send manpower to the area in order to deal with the current situation.

In nearby Silver Spring, seven cars were crushed by a tree that fell in the parking lot of the South East Hebrew Orthodox Congregation.

“The sky was lit up constantly from the lightning,” said Silver Spring resident Zev Teichman.  “There wasn’t much thunder, just non-stop lightning and ferocious winds.  This was totally unexpected.  The weather forecast called for just a chance of thunderstorms.”

While some in Silver Spring remain without power, residents of the White Oak area had their power restored yesterday afternoon.

“The storm was pretty horrific,” said Sheldon Meth.  “We were out for about sixteen hours.  Our lights went out at about 10:45 PM and we had no power until 3:30.”

Thirteen known fatalities have been reported in the wake of Friday’s storm.


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Read Comments (19)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 01, 2012 at 12:03 PM SHEPSEL Says:

To for every house that is being built or renovated to install a backup generator.

2

 Jul 01, 2012 at 12:19 PM Avreich1 Says:

Perhaps the air will be a little easier to breathe in Baltimore if fewer fine cigars are being smoked?

3

 Jul 01, 2012 at 01:13 PM AlbertEinstein Says:

Reply to #1  
SHEPSEL Says:

To for every house that is being built or renovated to install a backup generator.

Sure, all it takes is an extra $7,000 or so.

4

 Jul 01, 2012 at 01:28 PM anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
SHEPSEL Says:

To for every house that is being built or renovated to install a backup generator.

Excellent idea

5

 Jul 01, 2012 at 01:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Last year when Monsey lost power for close to a week I just the family in a hotel in NJ. If any frum families in Baltimore need a place post ur email address and I'll try to put u up in Monsey

6

 Jul 01, 2012 at 02:24 PM Apkores Says:

Reply to #1  
SHEPSEL Says:

To for every house that is being built or renovated to install a backup generator.

Do you even know what's involved in installing a "backup generator" lol

7

 Jul 01, 2012 at 03:46 PM anonymous Says:

Seven Mile Market the primary source of purchase for kosher food, fruit and other kosher items is open , so yashar koach to them

8

 Jul 01, 2012 at 04:33 PM ShmutzVesh Says:

Reply to #2  
Avreich1 Says:

Perhaps the air will be a little easier to breathe in Baltimore if fewer fine cigars are being smoked?

What in the world are you blabbling about?

9

 Jul 01, 2012 at 04:57 PM maersk Says:

Reply to #6  
Apkores Says:

Do you even know what's involved in installing a "backup generator" lol

Of course he does..he probably installs them.....

10

 Jul 01, 2012 at 06:53 PM GS Says:

Reply to #2  
Avreich1 Says:

Perhaps the air will be a little easier to breathe in Baltimore if fewer fine cigars are being smoked?

What are you smoking...?

11

 Jul 01, 2012 at 06:55 PM Avreich1 Says:

Reply to #8  
ShmutzVesh Says:

What in the world are you blabbling about?

Don't worry; המבין יבין

12

 Jul 01, 2012 at 09:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
anonymous Says:

Seven Mile Market the primary source of purchase for kosher food, fruit and other kosher items is open , so yashar koach to them

Yes...it takes about 6-8 hours, depending on how long the gas line run will be, how many circuits you are adding to the transfer panel to come on when the power goes off and how far the transfer panel will be from the main box. Its a no-brainer, can be completed for less than $10,000 (Guardian/Generac units in the 7,000-9,000 kW are generally sufficient, and are really required if you live in an area with heavy tree canopy and overhead lines.

13

 Jul 01, 2012 at 09:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
anonymous Says:

Seven Mile Market the primary source of purchase for kosher food, fruit and other kosher items is open , so yashar koach to them

Yasher koach for what? Their power never went off. They are doing what they always do...providing premium kosher food at premium prices and making a good parnassah. Don't make it sound like its some big mesiras nefesh.

14

 Jul 01, 2012 at 09:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Did anyone bother fact checking this article or did they simply repeat all the mistaken information provided by the Shomrim. First of all, neither BG&E nor any other major electric utility does service restoration on a "first call"/"first repaired" basis. Except for a few customers at the end of some long radial line, 95 percent of outages are detected automatically and restoration is based on which repair will restore the largest number of customers. It has nothing to do with some poor yidden suffering through shabbos an not making a phone call (which of course they should do if there is some sakanah for the sick and elderly). If you have life support systems, you get priority service restoration, but you should be registered with the utility anyway so they know in advance to send a crew. Also, there is no such thing as a "VIP" priority service restoration list Those days are long gone...today, utilities bend over backwards to avoid ANY shred of favortism, and in most cases restore VIPs and their own executive as late as possible. Perhaps Shomrim might get some facts before they rant .

15

 Jul 02, 2012 at 02:19 AM shlomozalman Says:

One must be thankful that no one yet has blamed this storm on a lack of tznius. I guess Baltimore is not yet Lakewood or Gateshead.

16

 Jul 02, 2012 at 01:07 PM Heshie Says:

Reply to #1  
SHEPSEL Says:

To for every house that is being built or renovated to install a backup generator.

Shepsel, I met someone on Shabbos who told me that he has a generator but a tree fell thru his living room / dining room.

17

 Jul 02, 2012 at 04:36 PM VoiceofReason Says:

To all those who think BGE does not prioritize callers: the number of reported outages went UP considerably in the Jewish area between Saturday night and Sunday noon. If BGE monitored this remotely, the number should have been flat. BGE's storm response unit simply does not prioritize homes where the outage is not reported. Even the BGE website requests that everyone without power calls it in! "If you are experiencing a power outage ... please call 877.778.2222 to report your location, using our automated reporting system."

As for favoritism: welcome to Baltimore City! Otis Rollings, a (former?) city official, had a BGE truck connected to his house from Saturday morning until Monday (when power was restored) - the truck was providing his house with electrical power. Why? Obviously Mr. Rollings is more important than other people.

Them's the facts.

18

 Jul 09, 2012 at 08:30 AM ChayaBayla Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Did anyone bother fact checking this article or did they simply repeat all the mistaken information provided by the Shomrim. First of all, neither BG&E nor any other major electric utility does service restoration on a "first call"/"first repaired" basis. Except for a few customers at the end of some long radial line, 95 percent of outages are detected automatically and restoration is based on which repair will restore the largest number of customers. It has nothing to do with some poor yidden suffering through shabbos an not making a phone call (which of course they should do if there is some sakanah for the sick and elderly). If you have life support systems, you get priority service restoration, but you should be registered with the utility anyway so they know in advance to send a crew. Also, there is no such thing as a "VIP" priority service restoration list Those days are long gone...today, utilities bend over backwards to avoid ANY shred of favortism, and in most cases restore VIPs and their own executive as late as possible. Perhaps Shomrim might get some facts before they rant .

Thank you! I was about to research this, since I don't live in Maryland any longer (Ohio - and we've got a natural gas, automatic generator because we've been through several week-long outages). There are enough real issues, why drum one up where it isn't real? We lost power on Friday evening as well, got it back on Tuesday, but know people whose service was still out on Saturday evening the following weekend! And I know that AEP here does what restores the most people the fastest. We are often the last to get power restored, but believe in this case it was faster because of someone down our line who is ill.

19

 Jul 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM Sonya Says:

"“Everyone has their windows open, no one has an alarm system, most people don’t even have working phones and there is no police response, all of which is a recipe for trouble in this area."
Another victory for antiquated technology! You can bet that landlines in the area are still working and have power and that those who have an old-fashioned phone that plugs into the wall -- i.e., not a cellphone that must be recharged from a live source or a portable phone that depends on an electrically powered base -- still has phone service. I'm a cellphone user myself but I would never abandon my landline and plug-in phone at home.
Good luck to all who have been struggling without electricity. I hope that any damage is repairable, God willing.

20

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