Last updated: February 19. 2013 3:34PM - 521 Views

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Thousands of Back Mountain residents were left without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy Monday night and Tuesday morning. Downed trees and power lines made clean up and repair a non-stop job for utility crews and families throughout the area.

The most devastating storm in decades left millions of people across the country without power as thousands fled their water-damaged homes.

Sandy, the hurricane turned superstorm, killed at least 50 people in the United States, many hit by falling trees. After inching its way inland across Pennsylvania Monday evening, it banked toward western New York to dump more of its water and cause more havoc.

Luzerne County 911 dispatched fire departments and road crews for fallen trees and kept a log of power outages for PPL Utilities and UGI Electric. But that was it in the way of storm damage in the county, except for garbage and recycling cans blown onto roadways.

According to UGI representative Joseph Swope, 59 UGI customers in the Back Mountain were without power after 8 p.m. on Wednesday and crews worked through the night to bring that number down to 13 by 11 a.m. Thursday. Swope said all power was expected to be restored by Thursday evening.

Craig Allen was out at sun rise Tuesday removing a large pine tree from his mother-in-law's house on West Center Hill Road. Anne Smith, 87, was awakened at about 1 a.m. when a 50-year-old tree crashed down on her roof. The back bedrooms of her home suffered structural damage.

She's okay and it's only material things and they can be replaced, said Allen. Smith was shaken up by the incident and didn't want to comment.

Marie Belasco watched crews repair lines in front of her home on Machell Avenue in Dallas after a tree fell from her front yard across the road. She said the tree must have gone down sometime after midnight.

While downed trees caused property damage for some, they also damaged power lines, causing many in the Back Mountain to be without heat.

Residents of Hi-Meadows Apartments in Dallas were without power Monday and were advised that, if power was not restored by evening, they should seek shelter elsewhere. Management was concerned about the residents being without heat.

Matilda Moreck, Tilly Kalish and Elaine Evansky toured an emergency shelter set up by Red Cross Disaster Services volunteers at the Dallas Middle School. The ladies wanted to be prepared in the event power wasn't returned to their apartments before nightfall.

Dallas Middle School Principal Tom Duffy said, I hope we don't see anyone. That means everything went well and everyone is alright.

Crews from UGI and Asplundh repaired power lines along Hunstville Road in Dallas Borough. According to Asplundh worker Bob Bevan, lines were damaged near Reservoir Road from the intersection at Hunstville Road to the substation located off Reservoir Road.

Residents Allison Freedman and Bob Anstett reported an explosion on Reservoir Road late Monday evening.

I heard a big explosion, said Anstett. I called 911 to report the fire, but it went out pretty quick. Power lines were ripped down in the high winds, causing a brief fire on the unpaved portion of Reservoir Road.

Misericordia University was without power, but backup generators did maintain heat and hallway lighting in the housing areas. Students Jamie Opela, Maria Weidemoyer and Brian Quinlan said that power went out at about 1 a.m. but emergency lights were on immediately. The cafeteria on campus was still open but was serving only cold foods such as sandwiches.

Shavertown Volunteer Fire Company officials said Monday was a slow evening. According to Captain Jeff Biesel, the company had a call about water in a basement and two calls about downed trees. Power was back on in Shavertown at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Dan Downey, a volunteer with the Red Cross, said the shelter only had two individuals on Monday evening. Mina Hontz, a volunteer with the Red Cross, said all shelters were closed by Wednesday afternoon. The Dallas Middle School had one woman stay overnight on Tuesday, but all others seeking shelter returned home once power was restored.

While downed trees caused property damage for some, they also damaged power lines, causing many in the Back Mountain to be without heat.

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