Monday, April 21st7.6°C
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More than 100K still without power in Ont.

Toronto Hydro says they have restored power to over half of the households without electricity following a weekend ice storm, but approximately 115,000 customers remain in the dark.

During a news conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Rob Ford said hydro crews are working around the clock to get the lights back on across the city, but it is unlikely that service will be fully restored by Christmas Day.

"We would like to say this would be done tomorrow, that's not going to happen folks," he said. "We're going to aim, for our very best, for Thursday or Friday."

The pace of power restoration may pick up as additional hydro crews from Ottawa and Windsor have arrived in the city to help out. Additional crews from Michigan and Manitoba are expected to arrive in Toronto on Wednesday.

The additional help comes as the temperature in the city drops well below the freezing mark. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Toronto, warning of cold temperatures with a high of -8 C and a low of -14 C. Northwesterly winds of up to 20 kilometres per an hour are also forecast for the region.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said the cold temperatures and wind continues to be a top concern for hydro crews, as they continue to receive reports of new outages.

"At some moments it feels like we take two steps forward and one step backwards, but overall we're staying ahead of the momentum," he said.

He said crews will repair the remaining major "feeder" lines, which serve thousands of people. Then they will focus on smaller areas where individual residences may be affected.

Ford told reporters those "one-offs" represent approximately 50,000 customers. He also said service on the Sheppard subway line is expected to resume by early Tuesday afternoon.

"We are going in the right direction, we're working as fast as we can," Ford said.

Fire, EMS calls dramatically up

With temperatures dropping, concern remains for those Toronto residents who are still without heat and hot water.

Ford urged residents trying to stay warm not to use appliances such as generators and barbecues indoors. He said emergency officials received 110 carbon monoxide calls overnight, compared to a typical night when they usually receive around 20. And EMS received 3,100 calls, he said, compared to a typical night when they receive approximately 800.

A mother and son from Newcastle died Monday from carbon monoxide poisoning, after they tried to heat their home using a generator.

Residents without power are being urged to visit one of the warming stations in the city instead. The city opened additional stations on Tuesday to accommodate residents in need.

Ford said approximately 750 people stayed in warming centres overnight.

The mayor spent some time Monday touring some of the warming stations. He told CTV's Canada AM that he was touched to see the city's residents and Red Cross volunteers helping out at the centres. "It's a very warm feeling because people are helping each other out," he said.

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