Thousands in eastern Canada head into fifth day without heat, power

Toronto Hydro crew fix broken hardware on a pole on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (Michael Peake/QMI...

Toronto Hydro crew fix broken hardware on a pole on Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (Michael Peake/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Boxing Day brought no relief for tens of thousands of Canadians heading into a fifth day without power following an ice storm that crippled part of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

In Toronto, the double-digit freezing temperatures finally let up Thursday morning, but an snowfall early in the day exacerbated the problem of restoring electricity to more than 48,000 homes that remained in the dark at 7 p.m.

Toronto Hydro declined to provide a timeline to complete the restoration, with Environment Canada issuing a special weather statement in anticipation of increasing winds in the "regions most affected by the ice storm" that could bring more tree limbs down onto power lines.

The utility said it had received 38,000 calls Wednesday - 10 times what it receives on an average day.

In other areas of the province serviced by Hydro One, Powerstream and Veridian Connections, another 7,500 or so homes were still dealing with outages at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

Progress was also slow in New Brunswick, where the power went on and off for some of the 18,000 or so customers NB Power was trying to restore. And the problem could go on for days yet, with "significant snow and strong winds" expected in the region, according to Environment Canada.

Hydro-Quebec reported about 7,000 homes were still affected as of Thursday afternoon.

The fallout from the sustained bad weather and power outages was more than just inconvenient - it was fatal.

A 54-year-old east-end Toronto man died in a car fire Christmas morning. He was reportedly climbed into the vehicle to stay warm.

On Monday, a man and his mother died in Newcastle, Ont., after using a generator for power in a garage attached to his home.

Several people in Toronto were taken to hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after burning charcoal inside their homes to keep warm.

 


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