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Power Outage Continues As Fairbanks Residents Prepare for Temperature Drop

By Samantha Angaiak, Business, Employment and Real Estate Reporter, Weekend Producer, sangaiak@ktuu.com
Published On: Nov 19 2013 09:59:56 PM AKST

(KTUU-TV, 11-19-13)

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -

When it comes to extreme temperatures, Fairbanks residents are plenty used to the cold, but power outages are another issue when they happen during the wintertime.

More than 10,000 residents lost power during a windstorm last week and Governor Sean Parnell declared a disaster on Monday for the region.

Fairbanks residents who are still waiting for electricity say they're hoping their alternative methods for staying warm will be enough.

Beverly Shannon says she and her husband were forced to buy a generator after their electricity went out Thursday night (Nov. 14).

"We're campers and we got our kerosene lamps out and flashlights and propane stove," Shannon said. “We just have to make do here until we can get electricity.”

Golden Valley Electric Association says when a powerful windstorm blew through the city, about 13,000 households initially lost power.

Ian Olesen, a power lineman for GVEA says they have been working around the clock.

"Guys here are working 16 hours a day sometimes more," Olesen said.

Olesen is one of about 70 linemen hired to fix the power lines in the Fairbanks vicinity.

"It's kind of fun, you feel like a superhero out there wearing your cape, running around and people go 'hey thanks a lot'," Olesen said. "You get a little gratification out of that."

While crews were busy trying to fix the damage done from the windstorm, another problem sparked on Tuesday.

"A wire burned down because a tree fell on a wire," Olesen said.

Carroll Holmes happened to be in a home near Chena Hot Springs Road when the power cut out around 6 a.m.

Holmes says he's happy his daughter’s home is well equipped with a woodstove.

"That's probably what kept it warm enough and that keeps it comfortable without clothes on, warm outer clothes," Holmes said.

Power was restored to his area by about 10:10 a.m. according to Golden Valley Electric Association.

As crews work diligently to reconnect the city to an amenity it has gone without for nearly a week, Fairbanks residents will have to continue waiting patiently.