Toronto ice storm: Snow sets back power restoration in Toronto
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An overnight snowfall set back efforts to restore power on Boxing Day to the 54,000 Toronto Hydro customers still without electricity five days after a crippling ice storm.
“We lost some feeder lines last night because of the snow,” Mayor Rob Ford told reporters at a news conference Thursday morning.
The four primary feeders, which each provide electricity to several thousand customers, have been repaired, Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said.
“They were remedied fairly quickly,” Haines said.
The restoration of power for the rest of the city will be what Haines described as a kind of “hand-to-hand” combat: hydro crews repairing single lines running to individual homes.
“This last bit will be a lot of heavy lifting,” Haines said. “It will be one truck and one service line, and so we’ll see a much slower pace as we complete the final restoration efforts.”
Haines said he was unable to give a timeline for when everyone would have their power back on because of further damage to lines from the most recent snowfall.
“There still is a lot of unknown work. We haven’t been in every street yet by any means,” Haines said.
Ford said on Christmas Day there were 38,000 calls to Toronto Hydro, more than 10 times the daily average.
Across the city, firefighters and paramedics are also receiving a higher volume of emergency calls than normal.
Toronto EMS Chief Paul Raftis said paramedics are seeing storm-related calls such as an increase in car accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning and slips and falls on ice.
Two fire stations are without power, Toronto Fire Chief Jim Sales said, and are running their essential services on generators.
A large fire last night was likely caused by candles, Sales said.
Peter Noehammer, the head of Toronto’s transportation services, said there are still about 150 traffic signals without power in the city. At the height of the power outages, 800 signals were down — one-third of all signals in Toronto.
About 1,000 residents from Toronto Community Housing still remain without power, CEO Gene Jones said.
Ford thanked volunteers who donated non-perishable food stuffs to warming centres Christmas Day and said that the number of people making use of these centres is steadily going down.
Most of the western part of Toronto now has power and Hydro is concentrating its efforts on the Scarborough area, where power has not been totally restored.
Hydro crews from Hamilton will be helping Toronto Hydro as they have finished repairs in the Hamilton area.