4,300 customers still without power in Fort Erie, Ontario as state of emergency continues


According to Mayor Wayne Redekop, about 4,300 customers are still without power in Fort Erie, Ont., and it’s unclear when power will be fully restored.

« The challenge is that there are a lot of trees that have fallen on wires. Some telephone poles have been broken, which means I have to try to fix them. Transformers have been damaged. It’s so a big job, » he said.

Redekop said crews from as far away as Sudbury, Ont., came to help Canadian Niagara Power get power back to Fort Erie residents.

The power company said Monday morning that 20 two-person line crews and six two-person field crews were continuing their efforts to restore power to Fort Erie.

The city is located in the Niagara region, across the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY, which was hit by a winter storm this weekend.

WATCH | The view of Fort Erie, Ontario, after the winter storm:

The view of Fort Erie, Ontario after the storm

Residents dig in the wake of a pre-Christmas blizzard that paralyzed parts of the Niagara region and triggered a state of emergency.

Residents still without power can visit the town’s warming station, located at Leisureplex Banquet Hall in Fort Erie, 3 Municipal Center Dr. A warming station has also been set up at the nearby Vale Health and Wellness Center in Port Colborne, located at 550 Elizabeth St.

The region asks residents who drive to these centers to avoid secondary roads if possible.

Redekop said Fort Erie, Wainfleet and Port Colborne all remain in a state of emergency as crews continue to work on power lines and weather the storm.

The Niagara Region declared a state of emergency on Saturday after relentless winds and snow battered areas near Lake Erie and the U.S. border.

“Plows are making progress clearing roads in South Niagara, but significant work remains as crews continue to battle drift in many areas due to wind,” the region posted on Twitter Monday.

Niagara Region discourages travel and asks drivers to keep roads clear for snow removal crews. It issued a snow squall warning Monday morning, while strong winds and around 15 to 30 centimeters of snow are expected Tuesday afternoon.

The Canada Border Services Agency announced Monday morning that border services at the Fort Erie port of entry have resumed.

The Peace Bridge, which connects Canada and the United States, and much of the Queen Elizabeth Way highway were forced to close on Saturday due to the winter storm.

Flooding forced some residents to evacuate their homes near the water. Police vehicles and snow plows were themselves stuck in snowdrifts and had to be abandoned for the past two days.

Calls for carbon monoxide poisoning: EMS

Fort Erie resident Justine Taylor said she spent Sunday night at the local fire station with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, after Ava started falling ill after two harrowing days without heat.

« It was very noticeable that she was getting much colder and we couldn’t keep her body temperature elevated, » she said.

Taylor said her family tried to leave their house on Saturday night in search of warmth, but they didn’t get far.

“We drove about 200 yards down our street and turned around because there were four cars stuck,” she said.

A baby in a snowsuit indoors is sitting in front of a candle.
Justine Taylor’s daughter Ava, 2, tries to stay warm during the power outage in Fort Erie this weekend. Taylor took the toddler, who was struggling to breathe, to a local fire station on Sunday evening to warm up after an ambulance couldn’t be dispatched due to snow. (Submitted by Justine Taylor)

On Saturday morning, Taylor said, she noticed Ava was having trouble breathing due to what she thinks was a combination of a regular cold and lack of heat.

Taylor said she called an ambulance and was told a unit could not be dispatched as many ambulances were stuck in snow.

Richard Ferron, acting chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services (EMS), confirmed that over the weekend ambulances in the area were stuck in snow, with some paramedics unable to leave their vehicle for up to eight hours.

Ferron said that to his knowledge, the majority of serious calls in the area in the past few days have been related to snow shoveling and carbon monoxide poisoning of residents trying to « heat their homes with accessory appliances. » .

An ambulance covered in a foot or more of snow on the side of the road.
Niagara Emergency Medical Services say this ambulance had to be abandoned in Port Colborne on Saturday evening and was not picked up until Monday morning. (Submitted by Richard Ferron)

In one instance, a generator was being used inside a garage, he said, adding that other sources of carbon monoxide calls were from kerosene lamps and propane heaters. used indoors.

Ferron said EMS call volumes have returned to normal and their vehicles are now dug out.

« It may take longer because the snow has resumed in Fort Erie, and there are still areas that may not be completely clear, » he said, adding that for the most part ambulances will be able to be dispatched throughout the region.



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