Power outages starting to affect emergency crews

News 12 at 11 / Thursday, February 13, 2014

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- It seems like just as one power line is back up, another tree falls down, turning a dark night into a nightmare for people across the CSRA.

During the day, almost everywhere you looked it was white, But all that ice and snow is leaving thousands in the dark.

"I haven't seen anything this bad in my 36 [years] in emergency management. We've had bad ice storms, but this has by far been the worst," said Columbia County EMA Director Pam Tucker.

Now that most of the ice on the road is gone, Tucker says the biggest problem is "power outages. It's a big problem. You have temps like we're having and people not having power for a couple days and may be looking at a couple more days. That's the problem."

110,000 people are out of power region wide. At least 31,000 of those are in Columbia County alone.

"No, no heat. We can't even get out of the driveway to go get gas," said Brad Rollins.

Brad Rollins is surviving with no power and a hole in his roof, thanks to a falling icy tree branch.

"We haven't had power since yesterday . If I didn't have a generator, yeah, we'd have trouble," Rollins said.

The outages aren't just affecting people at home. Emergency crews are starting to feel the stress and run out of fuel.

"How can the firetruck run if it doesn't have fuel? We need people to stay away from the gas station. These lines at the gas stations are ridiculous. Let the emergency response teams get the fuel. Stay home," urged Tucker.

Crews are working into the night to try and restore power, but with such widespread outages, some people might have to survive without light or heat for a couple more days.

"This is a time in our lives where it's a disaster. This is a disaster. People just have to hunker down," Tucker said.

News 12 was told most power crews are working 16 hour days to get your power back on, and they are making progress.

At this point, 89,000 customers have gotten their power restored. Georgia Power has 2000 employees here working to get power back up. They're taking a break for the night, but they'll start again at daybreak.

Remember, if you need a place to stay there is a shelter at Patriots Park in Grovetown. Just call 311 and they can even send the National Guard to come pick you up.

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