New Brunswick

Thousands still without power after wind storm, some schools still closed

More than 14,000 NB Power customers were still without power and several schools were still closed Tuesday after high winds ripped through the province over the weekend.

Around 7,000 NB Power customers are without electricity in the Fredericton area

More than 21,000 customers of NB Power were still without power on Tuesday morning. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

More than 14,000 NB Power customers were still without power and a few schools remained closed Tuesday after a wind storm ripped through the province over the weekend.

In one Albert County area, the power disruption has made 911 calls impossible,

The closed schools, in the Anglophone West and Anglophone North school districts, are:

  • Bliss Carman Middle School.
  • Geary Elementary Community School.
  • Bonar Law Memorial School.
  • Harcourt School.

About 7,000 of the power outages were in the Fredericton area and about 3,000 in Kent County.

Parts of the province were hit with 110-kilometre-an-hour winds Saturday night, and power was knocked out to more than 92,000 households.

Sheila Lagacé, a spokesperson for NB Power, said power to about 80 per cent of customers has been restored. The utility is aiming to have all power restored by Wednesday night.

More than 20,000 NB Power customers remain without power almost three days following Saturday’s powerful windstorm. 1:01

"We're doing our best to reconnect people as fast as possible but we don't know what crews are going to run into and what could make restoration efforts take longer," she said.

Right now, about 250 crews with NB Power are restoring power across the province with additional crews from outside the province. That number is up from 200 crews earlier Tuesday morning. 

"We continue to work at restoring the power and assessing the damage as quickly and safely as possible," she said.

Cleanup continues, life goes on

Downed power lines litter many Fredericton back yards. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

The sounds of chain saws and wood chippers filled the air in Fredericton on Tuesday as crews cleaned up trees that fell during the storm.

The mess didn't spare Mary Lou Delvasto's yard, or the trees in it.

"It looks like a war zone," Delvasto said.

"The gazebos down, trees are down, there's wire laying on the ground."

Courtney Stacey has been without power since 9 p.m. Saturday.

Mary Lou Delvasto says the situation could be a lot worse, it could be January. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

She's still staying in her home but has had to make some adjustments to her routine.

"I've been charging my phone in my car just when I'm going around driving," Stacey said.

"I'm able to go to work and shower there, and they've set up a good spot for us. Not here, it's freezing cold."

Delvasto was able to find a silver lining in the lingering clouds.

"It could be a lot worse because this could be snow and it could be the middle of January, so I feel very lucky," said Delvasto.

Higgs looking for answers

Blaine Higgs said he's asked for a report on how many recommendations that were made after 2017's ice storm have been implemented. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Premier-designate Blaine Higgs said he has concerns about how the number of outages, and the time it has taken to fix them.

He said he wants to know how many of the recommendations made after 2017's ice storm were implemented before the latest storm to disrupt services. 

"I want to know exactly the status of that," said Higgs, adding he's asked Judy Wagner, the deputy minister in the Executive Council Office, for a report.

Higgs also said there is an issue with co-ordination of emergency resources in unincorporated areas because there are so many groups with that responsibility.

"That was a major concern and it was when I met with the municipalities," he said.

"Because they were out travelling around looking for homes, because they didn't know where they were, and they didn't have any one person they could go to in [a local service district] that would know, 'OK, here's the list.'"

Keeping generators outside 

Wayne Knorr, a spokesperson for the City of Fredericton, advised residents not to keep generators inside their homes.

On Monday, four members of a family suffered carbon monoxide poisoning because they were using a generator inside their home on Douglas Avenue.

They were taken to hospital after carbon monoxide levels in some parts of the house read 600 parts per million, which is considered to be high.

Powerful wind damaged the roof of an Irving gas station in Fredericton over the weekend. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Robert Duguay, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, said items like barbecues and camping stoves should also stay outside "at a good distance from homes."

In January 2017, two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the ice storm that hit the Acadian Peninsula.

911 calls not getting out 

Elgin and the parish surrounding the Albert County community were among the areas that lost power on the weekend. The outages affect about 400 people living in the community and 400 people in outlying areas.

Elgin Fire Chief Kent Steeves said service in the main hub of the community has been restored since then, but most of the outlying areas still do not have power.

"My biggest concern is … how do we have 911 calls go out," Steeves said. "And how do we receive them because our emergency line is down as well?  

With no cellphones, no warming centres … we're kind of left on our own.-Elgin Fire Chief Kent Steeves

"[The] Petitcodiac Fire Department's line happens to be running off the same tower as ours, and their emergency line is down as well."

In a situation like this, Steeves said, residents are forced to "fend for themselves" or they can try to find a high point in the area where they can get one or two cellphone bars — or they can get into their vehicles and drive until they get reception. 

On Monday, Steeves said, firefighters went door to door to check on seniors and other people.

Elgin Fire Chief Kent Steeves said firefighters were forced to go door to door and check on residents in the area after a recent power outage over the weekend.

"Any time we find the hydro is out for any length of time, especially with the phones being out, we decide that maybe it's a good time to get around and check on the elderly."

For months, Steeves has been pushing MPs and MLAs in the area to get cell coverage.

"With no cellphones, no warming centres … we're kind of left on our own," he said.

"We need to have those assurances put in our places just like they are put in other places around this province."

Warming stations set up

New Brunswick is still waiting for power to be restored after Saturday's wind storm. 0:58

Knorr said three warming and charging stations will be set up again across the city on Tuesday.

Fredericton region

  • Salvation Army, 531 St. Mary's St., Fredericton – charging station only
  • Hanwell Municipal Office, 5-1757 Route 640, Hanwell – charging station only
  • St. James Presbyterian Church, 1991 Highway 640, Hanwell – charging station only, serving refreshments, open until 8 p.m.
  • Willie O'Ree Place, Mabie Lane, Fredericton – showers available – open 6 a.m. until midnight 
  • Grant Harvey Centre, 600 Knowledge Park Dr., Fredericton – showers available – open 6 a.m. until midnight 
  • Fredericton YMCA, 570 York St., Fredericton – showers available
  • Upper Nashwaak Lions Club, 1284 Route 107, Stanley – charging station only
  • Nashwaak Villa, 67 Lime Kiln Rd., Stanley
  • Upper Kingsclear Fire Department, 22 Mazerolle Settlement Rd., Upper Kingsclear – showers available
  • Estey's Bridge Community Centre, 1388 Route 620 Highway, Fredericton – charging station only
  • Fredericton Junction Fire Department, 102 Wilsey Rd., Fredericton Junction  – open until 5 p.m.
  • Rusagonis Community Centre, 1609 Post Rd. – open until 3 p.m.
  • New Maryland Fire Department, 584 New Maryland Highway, New Maryland – open until 9 p.m.
  • Chipman Fire Department, 10 Civic Ct., Unit 1, Chipman – open until 5 p.m.
  • Dumfries Fire Department, 7222 Highway 102 – open until 5 p.m.
  • Oromocto Hazen Park Centre, Covert Street, Oromocto – open until 8 p.m.
  • Minto Fire Department 191 Main St. – open until 4 p.m. 

Moncton region

  • Hillsborough Village Office, 2849 Main St., Unit 1, Hillsborough – charging station only
  • Riverside-Albert Village Office, 5823 King St., Riverside-Albert – showers available
  • Alma Activity Centre, 8 School St., Alma – charging station only
  • Town of Riverview Fire Station, 650 Pinewood Rd., Riverview – light refreshments, open until 7 p.m.
  • Dieppe Aquatic and Sports Centre, 111 Aquatique St., Dieppe – showers available
  •  Riverview Fire Station, 650 Pinewood Road, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Kent Region

  • Saint-Louis-de-Kent, Centre Aqua-Kent, 33, du Collège St., Saint-Louis de Kent from 8:30 a.m. until noon, 4:30 until 9 p.m. – showers available
  • Bouctouche, Centre JK Irving, 30 Évangéline St., – showers available – 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.
  • Beersville Fire Hall, 4035 Route 465, Fords Mills,  5 until 9 p.m.
  • Richibuctou Village Fire Hall,  6 Forge St.,  5 until 9 p.m.

Miramichi region

  • Upper Miramichi Fire Department, 6327 Route 8, Boiestown – open until this evening.
  • Upper Miramichi Municipal Office, 6094 Route 8, Boiestown – showers available – open until this evening.
  • Blackville Fire Hall, 135 Main St., Blackville – open until 10 p.m.

Fundy region

  • Town Hall of Grand Bay-Westfield, 609 River Valley Drive – open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Musquash Fire Hall, 35 Malcolm Meehan Rd, Musquash 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.
  • Fire Hall 1270 Route 790, Dipper Harbour 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. 

Westmorland Region

  • Fire Hall, located at 41 east Main Street, Port Elgin 5 Nov until 9 p.m.

Campbellton region

  • Civic Centre, 44 Salmon Blvd., Campbellton – open until 9 p.m.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton, Catherine Harrop and Shane Fowler