Allen County Town Hit By Outage: Residents Scramble To Stay Warm

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 6, 2014 Updated Jan 6, 2014 at 6:19 PM EDT

MONROEVILLE, Ind. (21ALIVE) --- As if the freezing temperatures aren't bad enough, people in the small community of Monroeville spent Monday shivering in their shoes because of a power outage that started in the middle of the night.

It was a cruel case of adding insult to injury.

A spokesperson from Paulding Putnam Electric Company says a problem with an Indiana-Michigan Power transmission line cut power to the whole town.

Fire Chief Joshua Wolff Monday morning ran an oxygen tank out to Juanita May, who woke up in the pitch black to realize that the oxygen machine she relies on was of no use.

" I was scared to death, I didn't know what to do because it was so dark, you know I couldn't see, couldn't find the flashlight. You're never prepared. I'm so thankful to you (fire chief), for getting it out to me," May said.

A few blocks away, David Cook lit candles and threw blankets over his six-month old son to try and keep him warm in his frigid mobile home.

" It is what it is, you gotta live with it. It's Indiana. Mother Nature, you gotta love it," Cook said.

As you can imagine, the loss of power was a big deal for the local nursing home.

Officials there got a generator going before the cold became too much of a problem.

Another generator was delivered to the town's fire station, so it could serve as a temporary shelter.

" We've actually had to go out and get some elderly out of their homes and take them to warm places as of right now," Fire Chief Wolff said.

Wolff was also concerned that residents would turn to risky, alternative sources of heat to beat the cold.

Joe Schmidt fired up the burners on his gas stove to keep pipes from freezing.

" I got the water dripping right now on all the faucets. It's the way it is, one in a million here it is," Schmidt said.

The Cook family checked into a New Haven motel to ride out the storm.

They didn’t feel comfortable staying put in Monroeville, with no firm date for when power would be restored.

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