'I can't believe it': Armed Forces assist with storm recovery on Acadian Peninsula
Nearly 10,000 homes and businesses still without power one week after ice storm hit
Sonia Mallet never thought she'd ever see an armoured truck roll in her Shippagan driveway, let alone be happy about it.
But that's what happened on Tuesday, when about 200 members of the Canadian Armed Forces from the 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown put in their first full day on the ground assisting with ice storm recovery efforts on the Acadian Peninsula.
"The army was in my yard and they were asking me if I needed any help and if I wanted my tree cut because it was falling on the house, so gratefully, I said 'Yes,'" said Mallet, who went several days without power before it was finally restored on Monday at noon.
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Nearly 10,000 NB Power customers remained without power as of early Tuesday evening; nearly 8,500 of them on the Acadian Peninsula.
At the peak of the outages last week, 133,000 homes and businesses across the province simultaneously had no electricity. In total, more than 200,000 have been affected by the storm and its aftermath.
Sgt. Joseph Beckwith, a Saint John native and military engineer, said they're happy to help.
"It's definitely a bad situation," said Beckwith.
Crews scoped out the region on Monday night to identify the areas needing the most attention, he said.
They will also work alongside NB Power crews to repair downed and damaged power lines.
In the village of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël, soldiers were handing out firewood at the fire station to a steady flow of local residents in need, even during the wee hours of the night.
They had to limit each person to 50 logs. One man made several trips to pick up wood for all of his neighbours, who couldn't leave their homes.
Premier Brian Gallant has said some people may be without power through until Thursday.
With files from Gabrielle Fahmy