April 05, 2020

More storm outages reported Wood, water help Bar Harbor woman cope

BAR HARBOR – Emma Richards, 74, sat in the enclosed sun porch of her home off Indian Point Road on Monday so she could take advantage of the daylight when writing a clerk’s report for her church.

The reason she needed the sun to help her see is that she had been without power for nearly two days. It went out at 4 p.m. Saturday as the weekend windstorm was intensifying in eastern Maine, and as of 12:30 p.m. Monday it had yet to come back on.

Richards said she had tried calling Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. to report that her power was out, but then she lost her phone service, too.

“For some reason it went off this morning,” Richards said Monday, sitting in her sun porch. “Every time I tried to call [Bangor Hydro], I got a busy signal.”

Richards said she has been unable to contact anyone at Verizon or Bangor Hydro to find out when her phone or power might come back on. She said she had no idea how long she might have to go without them.

Richards has lived alone in the home ever since her husband, Charles Richards, died in 1990. Her daughter, who lives down the road and has a generator, has let Richards use her shower and has given her warm soup to take home to eat, she said.

Richards also has managed to cook some food in her dark basement on the top of a King wood stove, which she uses to heat the house. She has thrown out the ice cream and sherbet that were in her freezer, and is worried about the meat going bad.

“I still have the butter, and I think the vegetables will keep,” she said. “I keep stoking that [stove] every now and then. Luckily, I have a good wood supply now.”

For water, she has jugs filled in her basement and has been using her bathtub, which she filled up late last week when it looked like the then-approaching storm was going to be a rough one.

Aside from cooking and cleaning, Richards has had to find other ways to pass the time. She usually watches television at night, she said, but instead has been reading by an oil lamp the past couple of nights.

“I finished one novel and started another one,” she said.

Still, it’s not as bad as the 1998 ice storm, which also cut off the electricity to her home. Richards said she learned from that experience to keep a supply of fresh water in case of power outages.

“That was over three days that I was without it then,” she said. “That was fun.”

Not really, she admitted a few moments later.

“I was kidding.”

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