Toronto ice storm: Ford says 'light at the end of the tunnel'

As some Toronto residents enter a seventh day without power Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" but he still isn't able to make any promises to people will be out of the dark.

Toronto Hydro CEO 'hopeful' majority will have power by early next week

As some Toronto residents prepare to enter an eighth day without power Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" but he still isn't able to make any promises on when people will be out of the dark. 2:36

Latest

  • Toronto Hydro says 16,000 people still without power
  • 2 new warming centres, Heron Park C.C. and Don Montgomery C.C., open until midnight Saturday
  • Hamilton hydro worker injured by falling ice, no word on extent of injuries

As some Toronto residents prepare to enter an eighth day without power Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" but he still isn't able to make any promises on when people will be out of the dark.

As of Saturday evening some 16,000 customers still remained without power, as Toronto Hydro keeps 200 bucket crews out working around the clock.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel, what day that might be I cannot say right now, but it is extremely, extremely frustrating," Ford told CBC News this afternoon. "My heart bleeds for these people but we're working as fast as we can."

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said early Saturday that melting ice falling from trees and other structures has led to fresh damage overnight.

"Over the morning hours we’ve been moving backwards, but I’m sure our crews will attend to those and we’ll start moving in the right direction again over the next couple of hours," he said.

Emotional hydro worker

Based on computer simulations, Haines said power could be fully restored in three days but there were other variables such as the potential for new outages that could hinder that goal. 

“I’m hopeful certainly by the early part of next week the vast majority of customers will be back," Haines said.

The CBC's Ivy Cuervo spoke with hydro worker Rich Lang who was emotional while describing the difficult part of the task ahead.

"There are areas where we have to drive away from customers where they don't have power and that's really hard for the guys," he said. "We're equally frustrated. There's just so much damage in the city."

There are areas where we have to drive away from customers where they don't have power and that's really hard for the guys.- Rich Ling, Toronto Hydro worker

Warming centres across Toronto continue to remain open, and police stations are also able to provide assistance to residents in need of heat or food.

Two new warming centres are open until midnight on Saturday:

  • Heron Park Community Centre at 292 Manse Road
  • Don Montgomery Community Centre at 2467 Eglinton Avenue East

"It's all hands on deck," Ford said, commending the many volunteers and encouraging people to donate to the Red Cross.

A stretch of Yonge Street was shut down near College Street on Saturday as chunks of ice plummeted from a crane overhead.

Warming temperatures caused ice to fall injuring one Hamilton worker who struck in the head. Officials couldn't provide an update on the worker's condition. 

Cleaning up debris

The city has 50 forestry crews working throughout the city to clear away tree branches and debris that have fallen. Approximately 13 more crews from Ottawa and London will begin work tomorrow.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said on Friday that staff estimates show the city has lost 20 per cent of its tree canopy from the ice storm.

“The ice storm has caused significant damage to the tree canopy across the City, and some of the worst damage is in Scarborough," Kelly said in a press release.

Early indication it could take up to a year to fully clear the debris from the city's parks and ravines.

"I'm guessing we'll be talking about branches coming down for months and months to come," Haines said

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