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October 30. 2012 4:23PM

Restoral efforts under way as over 7,000 Salem residents left without power

SALEM - As local residents reemerged from the Monday's storm, many were still without power Tuesday afternoon, as utility workers conducted multiple recovery efforts throughout town.

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, 7,300 Liberty Utilities customers remained in the dark, according to Salem Fire Marshall Jeffrey Emanuelson.

Most of those outages were attributed to a damaged feeder line that's fed from a Haverhill, Mass., substation.

“It's causing us all a lot of heartburn,” Emanuelson said. “But we're anticipating significant progress as we're working to get our (Town Farm Road) substation back online.”
Salem Town Hall, Woodbury Middle School and Salem High School all had extended power outages as they were affected by the feeder line damages.

Throughout Salem, various residential properties suffered “significant structural damages,” fire officials noted. At Rockingham Honda on Route 28, a number of new vehicles were damaged when a half-wall collapsed on top of them.

Officials from local utility companies attended a conference at Salem's Central Fire Station Tuesday afternoon to discuss restoration efforts.

“Everyone is working really hard right now,” Emanuelson said. “Things should get back to normal relatively quickly once we deal with the substation issues.”

Trick or treat was postponed in several towns, with Salem's festivities to now take place Sunday evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

Pelham's trick or treat will now take place Saturday evening from 5 to 7 p.m.

Monday evening's Salem Board of Selectmen meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in Salem Town Hall.

Salem Deputy Police Chief Shawn Patten said most of the town weathered the storm without any major instances or injuries, though several traffic lights in town, including several intersections along Routes 28 and 111, remained out as of Tuesday afternoon.

PSNH officials warned it could be several days before citizens' power is fully restored. According to company spokesman Martin Murray, this week's storm resulted in the fourth highest number of outages in the PSNH's with over 137,000 customers losing power this week, compared to the 125,000 who lost power during Hurricane Irene last year.

Murray said the company has enabled the services of 50 local electricians who spent much of Tuesday morning assessing damages left in Hurricane Sandy's wake. Over 100 PSNH crews joined 100 tree trimmers and 80 out-of-state line crews in a massive restoral effort to clear roads of downed power lines and restore power to schools and municipal facilities.

In Windham, almost all of the town's 4,897 PSNH customers remained in the dark as of 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

The handful of PSNH clients in Pelham likewise remained without power on Tuesday.

The Windham School Board opted to postpone a public hearing on school facilities Tuesday evening. The meeting, aimed at finding options for the district overcrowding, will now take place on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at Windham High School.


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