Neighborhood faces challenges while still waiting for power to be restored

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 5:38 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - In the last two weeks since a powerful derecho swept through Iowa, linemen and linewomen have restored power to hundreds of thousands of people, but others still face electricity challenges.

At a mobile home park off Johnson Avenue NW in Cedar Rapids, the damage following the storm is everywhere. Nearly every mobile home appears to have suffered some form of damage.

“One day we had maybe 200 people in here moving trees out of the way, there was no way of getting out of the property,” Joseph Miller, a four-year resident, said.

Miller is now one of the few left in the neighborhood, with many of his neighbors telling him they aren’t coming back.

“Some of the trailers are completely totaled, there is no way of moving back into them and others, they are fixable, but they are still worried about going back in there because of how old some of these trailers are,” Miller said.

Of those who remain, Miller’s home is now one of only two still without power. He said while work was being done to restore electricity in the neighborhood, his ground wire was damaged. An electrician from California came in to start those repairs, but there was another delay.

“They started it this morning, but the wires didn’t work, so they had to go get new ones,” Miller said.

Carmen Baker, Miller’s neighbor, was also without power and said even getting ready for work is hard in the August heat.

“It’s been pretty hard, trying to keep going, it’s been so hot,” Baker said.

Baker said a tree put three holes in her roof. She’s hoping to be approved for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance for repairs.

“But as far as when we are getting power, I don’t honestly know,” Baker said. “We are just trying to get by each day, some days are harder than others.”

Once night falls, Miller said it also brings the hardest part of living without power.

“Being able to sleep at night, I can’t sleep in the heat night. And then seeing all the kids that have been out here with no power, it’s just hard to see,” Miller said.

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