Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Easton Begins to Assess Damage, Pick Up After Sandy

By Christina Georgiou

At least one in three people of the City of Easton has been left without power after raging winds lashed through neighborhoods Monday night, downing countless trees and powerlines.

While the Downtown district, which mostly has it's utility cables underground, suffered some damage, the bulk of the problems are in the other three districts, Mayor Sal Panto said early Tuesday afternoon.

"The neighborhoods are horrible," he said. "About a third of the city is out."

Click on any photo for a better view.

Panto's house in Southside is included in the number, along with his neighbors.

The mayor said the city doesn't yet have any estimate of the extent of the damage, but those without electricity may stay that way for days.

Traffic backs up on Ferry
Street Tuesday afternoon as
those without power try
to get gas
and supplies in the city.
 "We've got a lot of roofs damaged," Panto said.

MetEd has not yet issued estimates for the amount of time it will take them to restore service to the Easton area.

About 120 residents of the Alzheimer care facility Praxis were in the process of being evacuated from the facility Tuesday afternoon, after the building lost about three-quarters of its roof.

Emergency managememt officials oversee the evacuation of Praxis
residents. The facility's roof was badly
damaged Monday evening.

The decision of whether to also move residents of the neighboring Easton Nursing and Rehabilition Center, also damaged in the storm, has not yet been made, said Easton Fire Chief John Bast.

A large piece of torn roofing material
lies on top of the Easton Nursing and
Rehabilitation Center on Washington
Street Tuesday.
"It's not an immediate evacuation," Bast said from the parking lot. "They're working within their emergency management plan."

Northampton County Emergency Management is assisting with the situation.

It is unclear when residents may return, officials said, adding, "It is a major repair."

The line to fill up streams out into
South Third Street Tuesday afternoon.
The line of cars waiting to fill up at the nearby Exxon gas station spilled into South Third Street early Tuesday afternoon too. Elsewhere Downtown, traffic was relatively heavy as people tried to stock up on food, gas and supplies.

Down the street, backup generators hummed at the senior housing complex at the corner of Washington and South Fourth streets, while traffic jammed the parking lots of Wawa and McDonalds, crowded with those looking for hot coffee and a quick meal.

But those now looking for a quick coffee will have to go elsewhere temporarily, as Wawa suffered an electrical problem several minutes later, around 1:20 p.m., necessitating its temporary closure. Numerous emergency vehicles were on the scene.

Emergency vehicles responded to an
electrical problem at the Downtown
Wawa Tuesday afternoon. The
convenience store is temporarily
closed as a result.

An Easton police officer said the business hopes to reopen later, if the city codes department says the site can safely operate after an inspection.

On South Fifth Street, UGI personnel were working to fix a gas leak over the course of several hours. The street remained closed as of mid-afternoon, along with a number of other in the city, as crews work to clear roads and fix damage left in the storms wake.

UGI employees works to fix a
gas leak on South Fifth Street.
 An earlier water main break on Northampton Street has been repaired and service restored to the area.

Power is reportedly out at the Salvation Army, in the 1100 block of Northampton Street, but the day-time shelter facility is apparently still open.

At the city's other day shelter, St. John's Lutheran Church at 330 Ferry St., a few people were taking advantage of the offer to go to the county Red Cross shelter in Bethlehem.

Pastor Sue Ruggles said not too many people have visited the Downtown location yet.

"Mostly people are coming in and wanting to go to the Red Cross shelter in Bethlehem," she said, adding that though LANTA promised transportation, they seem overwhelmed and the church has been providing those without power who want to go with a ride. "But if we don't have power for three or four days, then I think we're going to have more people."

She added that her home in College Hill is without power too, and she understands the difficulties people, especially with children, face.

Pastor Sue Ruggles, far right, plays basketball with \
Jesse and Jeiseh  Gordon, 5 and 1, while their mother, April
Gorden and her nephew, Marked Barnes, look on. The West Ward
family plan to spend their time at the storm shelter in
Bethlehem until power is restored at their home.
 "So far, we've been driving people over in my car," Ruggles said, adding that it's understandable that LANTA may be overwhelmed. "But now we need the (church-owned) van."

St. John's is not providing meals, but the church lower level is heated and has electricity. Anyone who wants or needs to is welcome to stop by to spend some time, warm up and charge their cell phone, she said.

West Ward resident April Gordon, waiting for a ride to the Bethlehem shelter, smiled as her two children and nephew played mini-basketball.

"Especially families with kids, if they don't have power, it can be long days," Ruggles said, joining in the game.

Those whose homes have been damaged by "superstorm" Sandy, without power or with medical needs they need help meeting may call the church at 610-258-6119 for possible assistance, Ruggles said.
The back of Kaplan's Awnings shows some storm damage.

A ripped-off roof and other debris
lays in an alley off South Second Street. It
apparently broke the second
story windows on the way down.

The hatch covering roof access on top of the Bixler Building has been ripped off.
This clock a the top of the Rock Church is no longer right even twice a day.

The carriage wheel atop the century ol Third Street Garage building
was shredded by Sandy's winds Monday night.

The roof and edge facade above the former Sith Street Laundromat
is heavily damaged. Chunks of roofing material and wood
littered Northampton Street Tuesday.

More roofing material litters the streets.
It is unclear which building it is from.

Easton Upholstery owner Chuck Adams inspects the roof of his building and replaces torn-off flashing Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, a third story window was blown out Monday night. No one was hurt, and the glass was nowhere to be found. Adams, who lives in Williams Township, was without electricity at home Tuesday, and since
his residence is supplied by a private well like many in the township, without water too.

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