New Brunswick

Fredericton runway reopens for night flights as power outages continue in province

Close to 34,000 NB Power customers were still without electricity Monday afternoon after strong winds hit New Brunswick over the weekend, but the Fredericton Airport expected to resume flights Monday night after runway lights were restored.

4 people treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, prompting safety warnings from EMO

Power outages forced several businesses to close across New Brunswick's capital on Monday. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Close to 34,000 NB Power customers were still without electricity Monday afternoon after strong winds hit New Brunswick over the weekend, but the Fredericton Airport expected to resume flights Monday night after lights were restored to one of its runways. 

NB Power was slowly whittling down the number of customers that lost power after a weekend wind storm that also kept some schools from opening Monday morning. 

The airport announced that a runway closed to night flights on Sunday was again operational, and work was continuing on the electrical system. The airport said earlier that the weather did not cause the loss of runway lights but interfered with repairs.

"It's also made it a bit of an issue because those resources that we need to fix what's going on out of the airfield are in demand right across the province," said airport spokesperson Kate O'Rourke. 

NB Power crews were out restoring power at crosswalks and four-way intersections on Monday. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

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.

Continued power failures led the province to step up warnings against unsafe use of generators.

More than 16,000 customers still without power are in the Fredericton area and more than 4,000 are in the Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe areas.  

Twenty-two schools, mostly in south-central and eastern New Brunswick, did not reopen Monday morning because of power outages. 

There are 200 crews working to restore power across the province throughout the day but NB Power says it still doesn't  know when power will be fully restored. For some customers, it could be well into Wednesday.

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

Sheila Lagacé, a spokesperson for NB Power, said crews from neighbouring provinces are expected to help.

Lagacé said most of the outages were caused by trees making contact with power lines, but there were also broken poles and downed power lines.

Sparks flying

Wind damaged the roof of an Irving gas station in Fredericton. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

On Saturday night, Lisa Atkinson noticed two trees had caught fire outside her home on Jewett Street on Fredericton's north side.  

"I had sparks that were hitting my back deck [and] the firemen kept coming back, checking it out," she said.  

"I stayed up all night watching it … it was pretty scary."

She's been concerned about the trees and electrical lines in her backyard for years. About seven years ago, she asked officials to clean up the area and was told there was nothing to be concerned about — and nothing was ever done.

A long line of people were trying to leave the Fredericton International Airport after flights were cancelled Sunday night and early Monday morning. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

"I have two big pine trees on the side of my home and there's many wires running through it. Mainly, I understand, it's cable and phone lines running through it but there's also the electrical running through it as well.

"That's one of the trees that fell over and tore all the lines down in this wind storm."  

She's still without power and she has no idea when it will be back.  

"Mine's not an easy fix because the transformer took out part of the back fence, so it's on the ground," she said.   

A silent killer

 The New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization is warning people not to approach downed wires on roads or use generators indoors. 

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

They were treated and are recovering, but Robert Duguay, a spokesperson for EMO, said the situation could've been a lot worse.

"Our main concern from now on is the way people take action to protect themselves or their belongings, particularly when they use generators around their home," Duguay said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

"We want to make sure people are well aware of carbon monoxide poisoning risk and to make sure they use generators properly around their house." 

David McKinley, Fredericton's assistant deputy fire chief, said the four family members were taken to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital shortly after 8 a.m., after carbon monoxide levels in some parts of the house read 600 parts per million, which is considered to be high.

Having trouble breathing and feeling nauseous, the family called 911.  

"It's a silent killer," Duguay said. 

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

Duguay said generators should be kept far from the home and should never be used in a garage, near windows or any ventilation system.

The emergency organization is also reminding people without power to keep their fridge doors closed to help reduce food spoilage.

Warming and charging stations have also been set up in a number of cities and communities: 

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. to midnight Nov. 5 and 6
  • Grant Harvey Centre, 600 Knowledge Park Dr., Fredericton – showers available – open 6 a.m. to midnight Nov. 5 and 6
  • 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

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
  • Dieppe City Hall, 333 Acadie Ave., Dieppe – charging station only

Miramichi and Cambellton regions

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

Fundy region

  • Town Hall of Grand Bay-Westfield, 609 River Valley Drive – open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton, Shane Fowler