Brrrrrrr — Arctic blast socks SK
By KAITLIN STROHSCHEIN
Port Orchard Independent Reporter
November 24, 2010 · Updated 11:57 AM
The wind, snow and freezing temperatures that blew into Kitsap County on Monday scrambled routines and caused significant damage to the area.
By 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, about 44,000 Kitsap County homes lost power, which represented the largest loss in the state, according to Puget Sound Energy.
Forty crews have been working to restore power across the region, and another 16 were summoned from nearby states.
Meanwhile, South Kitsap Fire and Rescue also stayed busy.
Between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, the station had about 14 vehicles and 30 people on call processing 168 calls for assistance.
“The bulk of the calls started around 4 p.m. and tapered off a little bit around midnight,” said Batallion Chief Mike Wernet. “But we still ran about 50 or 60 calls after midnight.”
At different times, people tended to report different emergencies, he said.
From about 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., they mainly called to report commuting-related emergencies.
As people got home and the wind picked up, more reported trees on wires and houses.
Closer to midnight, people tended to call in more medical emergencies.
South Kitsap Fire and Rescue responded to about 23 calls reporting trees on houses, roughly 61 trees on power lines and about 26 car accidents.
“One gentleman was sitting in a recliner and a tree fell into his house and hit him in the arm, driving him into the ground,” said Wernet.
South Kitsap Fire and Rescue also responded to a major structure fire that had engulfed the entire second story of a house on Mullinex Road at the peak of their call volume.
Firefighters also dealt with back-to-back structure fires at 2:10 a.m. and 2:25 a.m. Tuesday.
The causes of the fires are still under investigation.
“Massive trees and power lines” fell on roads in the Burley and Glenwood areas, forcing aid workers to chainsaw their way through to get to the parties needing assistance in some cases.
At about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, they put out a structure fire at a retirement home that started when a resident accidentally lit a book shelf on fire with a candle she decided to burn while the power was out.
“Because it was right across the street, we arrived fairly rapidly” said Wernet. “It was a small fire, but it caused quite a bit of smoke.”
Kitsap County’s Department of Emergency Management recommends that county residents without power go to a friend’s house and stay put until the power comes back.
They can also go to a Kitsap Transit “warming bus” stationed outside the Port Orchard Safeway and “warming buildings” at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
The Department of Emergency Management plans to open more facilities to be used as “warming stations,” and announce their locations as they become available.