Residents, Met-Ed crews and emergency personnel crews have been busy cleaning up after the damage left by Hurricane Sandy.
“Some of the effects are major with possibly long-term power outages possible,” said Kutztown Fire Chief Troy Arndt. “We have been cutting up many trees, clearing roads, and checking on wires down.”
The fire department also responded to two vehicle accidents and three automatic fire alarms on Oct. 30, the day after Hurricane Sandy hit the area.
During the storm itself, Arndt said the challenges were coordinating resources, and the high winds.
He noted that the storm was not as bad in regards to the amount of rain received to minimize flooding, “but the winds created havoc during the height of the storm Monday evening.”
“The firefighters at Kutztown worked very hard and were totally committed to the safety and well being of the community,” said Arndt. “We had full staffing at the station for a period of approximately 32 hours.”
Days after Hurricane Sandy struck the region, many were still cleaning up, and still waiting for their power to come back on.
Fallen trees and down power lines remained an issue for many on Thursday in the areas surrounding Kutztown, Fleetwood and Topton.
As of the afternoon of Nov. 1, about 18,928 people in Berks County still did not have power restored, in comparison to the 60,000 Berks residents who lost power on Oct. 30, after Hurricane Sandy struck the region.
A crew from Penn Line Service, Inc. in Scottdale, contracted by Met-Ed to assist with the clean up, were out removing fallen trees blocking Stony Run Valley Road in Albany Township near Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
“Most of the problems is places with poor soil conditions, rocky soil conditions, just places where it’s not good for trees to anchor to and they’re just coming over,” said Jim Foster Jr. of Penn Line. “We’re going through cutting so that (Met-Ed) can clean the lines off. So that way everything’s clear, they can come out and pull everything back up and repair their hardware... We’re just trying to make sure everybody gets their power back up.”
Met-Ed customers still without power as of Nov. 1 were 186 residents in Albany Township, 601 in District Township, 19 in Fleetwood Borough, 1,444 in Greenwich Township, 34 in Kutztown Borough, 9 in Lenhartsville, 928 in Longswamp Township, 200 in Maidencreek Township, 887 in Maxatawny Township, 509 in Richmond Township, 812 in Rockland Township, 361 in Ruscombmanor Township, and 26 in Topton, according to http://outages.firstenergycorp.com/pa.html
According to Met-Ed’s website, by this weekend, Nov. 3 and 4, power is expected to be restored to 95 percent of affected Met-Ed customers. Expected restoration times for the majority of the Boyertown, Reading, Hamburg, Easton and Stroudsburg areas is by Monday, Nov. 5; remaining customers restored by Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Kutztown University, Fleetwood, Brandywine Heights and Kutztown school districts were also closed due to power outages and blocked roads.
Classes resumed at KU on Nov. 1. Students had been asked to leave their dorms on Oct. 28 and the residence halls were closed due to expected power outages.
Kutztown School District opened its schools on Nov. 1, offering alternate bus stops for some routes due to fallen trees and downed wires.
Brandywine Heights operated on a two-hour delay on Nov. 1 and 2 to allow buses and parents to safely travel to school during the daylight hours.
The Fleetwood Area School District had a
two-hour delay Nov. 1. Due to some continued road closures there were alternate bus pick-ups offered.