EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 30, 2012

Methuen City Hall in the dark; Andover slowly getting power back; Haverhill has 20-30 trees down

ANDOVER — Clean-up crews were out in force this morning as chainsaw-weilding tree trimmers lopped off branches and chopped down trunks while police barricaded roads and parents wondered what to do with their children, who were home for a second day in a row in most cities and towns in the area.

Bob Decelle of 44 Linwood St., Andover, watched as power crews tacked wires and cables onto two, new utility poles on Haverhill Street/Route 133 in Andover. An enormous, rotted oak between the sidewalk and the road fell into the front yard and driveway of 87 Haverhill St. around 4:15 yesterday, bringing down utility poles and power lines and knocking out power to a wide swath of homes in the area.

"The lights went out and a second later I heard 'CA-RASH,'" said Decelle, whose home is a block or so away, through the woods. "I felt it hit the ground."

Through the night, utility and town crews worked to erect new poles and clear the debris.

This morning, a small audience of neighbors watched as workers finished the job.

"Last night, they told us we'd get power back by noon," said Mark Vieira of Whittemore Terrace, about a half-mile from the work scene. "But my wife heard this morning it might not be until tomorrow."

Throughout Andover and much of the rest of the Merrimack Valley, thousands of residents were in a similar predicament, waiting until trees could be removed so powerlines could be reconnected and electricity restored. In Andover as of 11 a.m. today there were 2,845 customers with no power.

In Methuen, City Hall is in the dark. A generator is providing enough power so phones can be answered in the Public Works department and the mayor's office. All the offices in the building are dark. Government offices opened in the morning, but all non-essential employees were sent home by 10 a.m. today when power wasn't restored.

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