Ice and water in high demand in New Kent, widespread power loss

Published: Aug. 31, 2011 at 9:44 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2011 at 10:01 PM EDT
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NEW KENT COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - Ice and water are hot commodities right now in New Kent County where people are coping with days of power loss!

Some people arrived at one of three distribution centers an hour early to be among the first to get a bag of ice and a case of bottled water. Both are being trucked in by vendors from as far away as Florida.

For these folks, it doesn't matter where it's coming from. It's a drive-thru for much needed relief. Cases of bottled water and bags of ice. On this day, Shirley Nantz got first dibs.

"(You're the first one, how's that feel?) It feels good," said Nantz.

It could be another week, maybe longer before the lights are on for everyone in New Kent.

"Keep saying the next day, the next day and still nothing yet, said James Morris.

For many, not only do they not have electricity, but a house. That's the case for the Smith family in hard hit Woodhaven Shores.

The Smith family is having to rebuild, here's why, a massive tree 8 feet off the ground. Irene ripped it right out of the dirt and it sliced right through the house. The damage tally so far for homes in the county is $5.3 million.

"We're very lucky," said Michelle Smith.

Lucky to not have been home when Irene hit. But fortunate to have generous neighbors.

"Everybody pitches together. Some have generators, those that don't have offered come to my house," said Smith.

Nearby, Dominion power crews have a daunting task. Lines are tangled in storm debris.

"There are trucks all over the county actively working," said New Kent Fire Chief, Tommy Hicks.

For these folks, part of survival, is waiting in line. Only to return soon. The hot commodity doesn't last long when the power is out.

"Not long, we're been drinking a whole lot of it. I need two," said Nantz.

The ice and water will be handed out through tomorrow at Bloom supermarket, Colonial Downs and Henrico Jail East. Distribution begins at 4 P.M.

The Red Cross is serving food at Colonial Downs now until eight tonight. Portable showers will be ready for use tomorrow near the courthouse. Because of all the damage, the start of school in New Kent is a little uncertain.

If all schools have power by 5 P.M. Friday, it will open on Thursday, September 8th. If not, the first day is scheduled for Monday, September 12th.

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