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Out-of-state crews called in to help restore local power

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 05 2014 04:47:16 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 05 2014 04:59:06 PM CST

Utility crews have been called in from out of state to help restore power to thousands after wet snow and ice toppled trees and brought down power lines across Berks County.

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. -

Utility crews have been called in from out of state to help restore power to thousands after wet snow and ice toppled trees and brought down power lines across Berks County.

With a chainsaw in hand, volunteers with the Earl Township Fire Company spent hours Wednesday cutting up branches and cleaning up debris so plows could get through to clear the icy and slick roads.

"There's a lot more trees hanging low and when they start breaking they bring the wires down," said Butch Gamler, with the fire company.

Met-Ed and PPL reported outages all across Berks. A massive tree stretched across Route 625 in Cumru Township and left power lines dangling over the road. It was a similar scene on Powder Mill Hollow Road in Colebrookdale Township. Wires were down, and cones blocked one lane where branches fell into the street.

Power companies raced to turn the power back on to thousands of people in Berks, but it's been no easy task.

"Repairs have been hampered somewhat by the road conditions, especially the back roads and there are so many trees down," said Karen Baxter, manager of external affairs for Met-Ed.

Power lines, trees and signs were all coated in ice. In Wyomissing, Lorraine Houseman spent about 4.5 hours without power.

"It started to get cold around noon as the heat just gradually dropped," said Houseman.

The heat won't turn back on for many people Wednesday, and crews are expected to work through the night.

"We do expect this to be a multi-day event. Obviously we're going to get some people on as we go through the day but our first priority is hazard situations," said Baxter.