50 Years, 50 Stories


Published Feb. 17. 2003 in The Ledger Independent

After 24 hours of living without heat and electricity, many area residents were scrambling Monday to find ways to stay warm.

Some went to stay with family and friends who were lucky enough to have electricity. Some went to community shelters. Others made dashes to hardware stores and gas stations to find and fuel kerosene heaters.

Those who made the latter found the pickings slim at area stores. Most hardware stores don’t have many heaters in stock this close to spring, said Steve Hurd, owner of Steve’s True Value Hardware in Flemingsburg. Hurd said he sold out of his 15 heaters on Saturday night.

Managers of Ace Hardware and Kibler Lumber Do-It Express also reported brisk sales of kerosene heaters Saturday night.

Those who have the heaters lined up at the Speedway station at the intersection of Kentucky 9 and U.S. 68 to fill containers with fuel. Speedway sold 2,641 gallons between Sunday afternoon and noon Monday, said employee April Shields.

Waiting in line at Speedway, Mud Lick resident Michael Scott said most of Lewis County is a black hole, with no phone service or electricity.

“It is like Walton’s Mountain,” Scott said, referring the television show about a mountain family in the 1930s. “You blow your candles out and go to bed.”

Those without heaters either stayed at a relative’s house or at one of the emergency shelters in each county.

About 25 people came out of the cold and into the Black Oak Fire Department in Vanceburg to spend the night, said firefighter Mark Riley. Riley said he anticipates more people spending the night as the blackout continues.

“People will be running out of kerosene,” Riley said.

The community has pulled together in the emergency, said Vanceburg resident Dollslee Patton, who has stayed at the shelter since 3 p.m. Sunday.

In Maysville, about nine people spent Sunday night at an emergency shelter set up at the YMCA on U.S. 68, said Red Cross volunteer Michael Mahaffey. On Monday afternoon, about nine more people came in to stay an indefinite amount of time.

Shivering as she entered the facility Monday afternoon, 12-year-old Miranda Carpenter of Fernleaf said she was glad to finally get into a heated room after she spent the night without heat.

The King family, which lives near Dover, also came into the YMCA shelter on Monday after they spent Sunday night without heat. Dawn King said she didn’t want to chance taking her husband and two children on the roads to the shelter Sunday night.

“We decided to stay,” she said. “We were underneath blankets and were warm.”

The drive from the family’s house to the YMCA, which usually takes 15 minutes, took more than an hour Monday morning.

How long people will have to stay in the shelters and hotels is still uncertain. Those working on restarting power said the process is tedious. Some areas could be without power for a week, said Mike Hazelrigg, chief finance officer with Fleming Mason Energy.

Hazelrigg said workers have repaired most of the main lines, but many customers who branch off the main lines are still without power.

“There is a tremendous amount of damage,” Hazelrigg said. “When trees fall down, they tear the lines and break the poles.”

In Vanceburg where the whole city has been in the dark since Sunday.