Tiverton outages nearly ended; generators a hazard

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TIVERTON — As of Monday morning Tiverton Fire Chief said there were only "pockets of outages" left in town, down to 300-400 he said, based on his conferences with National Grid officials earlier in the day.

National Grid's official website itself pegged the number at 919 as of mid-morning, and was projecting full restoration of power to those remaining Tiverton residents by 11:45 p.m. Monday.

"It was real bad," said Chief Lloyd Monday of the blizzard that blew through over the weekend. That judgment was one he had voiced Friday night about 9 p.m., at the height of the storm, when he said things were so serious that for a time he could not deploy his trucks over unplowed dangerous roads and had to "pull them back."

Chief Lloyd also doubles as Director of Emergency Management for the town, and had experience in the past during the blizzard of 1978.

Over the weekend, Chief Lloyd said his department fielded an estimated 200-300 calls. "I want to sing the praises of town employees, the DPW workers, and volunteers, who absolutely worked their butts off," he said.

There were some small fires in Tiverton, he said, Little Compton had two, and Portsmouth had one.

"But the biggest thing is, this is heart attack snow," referring to people who over-exert in their own personal snow removal efforts.

Another huge danger, Chief Lloyd said, is the number of generators deployed throughout the town.

"People need to get those things far enough away from the house so carbon monoxide doesn't back up into their home," he said.

Chief Lloyd said his department on Saturday night transported 10 people with carbon monoxide poisoning to St. Anne's Hospital from a single Tiverton dwelling.

With the incoming rain today. and cold to follow, Chief Lloyd said, "we still have a lot of work ahead of us."

Clearing fire hydrants is one major task, he said. If people see a fire hydrant, he encouraged volunteers to clear it. He said his crews are doing the same across town.

Chief Lloyd also encouraged people experiencing outages to call them in, and keep calling. "They want you to keep reporting it," he said of National Grid.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.