Power Restored To Some, On A Sweltering Day - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/26/05-Gregg County

Power Restored To Some, On A Sweltering Day

Power's slowly coming back to East Texans, though tens of thousands are still in the dark.  As utility crews make their way through neighborhoods, hopes rise. And for some lucky families in Gregg County, the lights come back on, just as they abandon their homes on this sweltering day.

William Wait has been forced to wait in the heat for three days. He says his calls to power company Swepco weren't answered with specifics.

"People think they've got two hours, they'll sit it out, and twelve goes to twenty-four, not telling them sometimes is the things that's hurting them,"  

But he can head home, he can cool off. His power has come back on. A few miles away, the heat's the only thing on.

"I've had to bale everything out of the refrigerator and freezer because... we had just one ice chest," Tammy Helms says.

Tammy's life has turned back many years, with an antique phonograph adding a touch of nostalgia to this day.  It's entertainment that doesn't need a power cord.

"This is it. Chess. We barbecued yesterday, and because there was stuff in the freezer that's got to be cooked," she says.

Tammy will have to throw out some food, losing hundreds of dollars.

Repair crews go by, but neighbor T.J. Captain says they never seem to stop.

"When I first saw [the repair truck] coming, I said Thank God, he's finally going to fix it.  Then when he drove back by, I said this isn't funny," he says.

So everyone goes for a drive to cool off.

"We're trying to make a bunch of people happy," says the one AEP Swepco worker singlehandedly returning life to normal. 

He clicks the last fuse in place on the power pole.

"That means all those people, about 30 people, there just got lights."

Block after block, through the lines, relief. Though everyone gave up for today.  They'll walk in to a cool breeze when they get home.

Reported by Morgan Palmer. morganpalmer@kltv.com


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