April 02, 2020

Ice went easy on Piscataquis

DOVER-FOXCROFT — While much of Piscataquis County and the Dexter region was covered with ice and had scattered power outages, the county fared better than other counties in the state during last week’s ice storm.

About 1,100 customers were still without power Monday in the Dover Service Center, according to Meredith Finn, a spokeswoman with Central Maine Power Co. But many of those who were without power were not in the immediate Dover area.

Finn said the Dover Service Center covers not only Piscataquis County, but also Dexter, Etna, St. Albans, Carmel, Dixmont, Glenburn, Kenduskeag, Levant, Rockwood and Corinth.

As CMP crews worked feverishly Monday to restore the power to customers in the Dover Service Center, county and town officials praised their work.

Officials at the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department were pleased with CMP’s efforts to restore power to the department’s communication tower, which was disabled by ice on Sunday. Sgt. David Roberts said CMP restored the power within 45 minutes of the initial call about the problem. “They should be lauded for the quick response,” he said Monday.

Sheriff John Goggin said: “They [CMP] have done a tremendous job keeping up with everything in this area. We are very fortunate that we did not get the main brunt of that storm that our neighbors east, west and south of us got.”

Roberts said although there were sporadic outages in some communities, such as Sangerville, Atkinson and Bowerbank, no towns were entirely without power.

Goggin said his department was on the verge of opening some shelters in the county when the storm struck, but they weren’t needed.

Sangerville Town Manager John Simko said firefighters opened the fire station there for residents who were without power, but no one took advantage of the shelter overnight. He said firefighters remained at the station overnight Thursday and Friday in the event they were needed. An ambulance from Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft remained at the fire station Thursday evening for better coverage for the area to the north.

Some residents in the French’s Mills area in Sangerville were still without power early Monday, according to Simko. Residents of Oakes Manor, a housing complex for the elderly in Sangerville, were without power for a period on Sunday. Accommodations were made for residents who were on oxygen, Simko said.

Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Owen Pratt said there were spotty power outages, the longest of which was about seven hours. He said town, fire and ambulance personnel, police and the county’s emergency management agency had developed a shelter plan in the event power was out for an extended period, but the plan was never initiated.

“I think we were very fortunate not to lose power for a longer period of time,” Pratt said Monday. “I think we got good service [from CMP] as far as I’m concerned,” he added.

Bob Simpson, Dexter town manager, said his town was “extremely fortunate” to have escaped the damage that surrounding communities sustained. He said he visited Belgrade, a community where he previously served as town manager, and was “absolutely flabbergasted” at the destruction caused by the storm.

“It’s a catastrophe down there. It’s going to be days, if not weeks, before they get power restored to everybody,” he said.

Simpson said the storm gave him a wake-up call because Dexter has no emergency management plan in place. He said he believes town officials will now prepare a plan.

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