Speedway neighborhood survives outage, burst pipes

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We all have a story or two about how we weathered the storm of 2014, but one neighborhood in Speedway may have most of us beat. The power went out Sunday afternoon, which means 50 homes were left in the dark for almost three days.

The power went out around 2 p.m. Sunday. It took 62 hours for electricity to be restored and when it was, more problems began, including burst pipes.

"Literally and figuratively, we were left in the dark," said resident Jeff Mehrlich.

The lights finally came back on around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Three tree limbs have already come down in Pam Ullrich's backyard on Gerrard Street.

"This is the one that was laying on top of our garage. When the wind started gusting, it came off the garage and then I didn't realize that if this one goes, you have one, two, three and if it gets to that, a fourth line looks like it will go," she observed as she showed two of her neighbors the problem.

IPL contacted neighbors last summer, saying they planned to trim back the trees, but never got to it, leaving 40-50 homeowners shivering in the dark.

"When it's 33 degrees in your house, it is time to make a choice. Do what you can do, I guess," she added.

"Right through here. You see right through here, that is brand new," Mehrlich said, pointing toward the towering tree that created the problem.

Neighbors are happy the tree limb has been removed and the damaged power line replaced, but now they worry about the web of tree limbs that remain intertwined with those power lines.

"That is my biggest concern. To go so many days without power is amazing," Ullrich said, almost in amazement.

Now, neighbors are thankful for the power they do have and fearful they don't have another problem brewing.

Remaining outages

As of about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, IPL reported 2,500 outages around the Indianapolis metropolitan area. Duke Energy had just 52 homeowners without power. Both hope to have all power restored tomorrow.

Heavy snow on trees and power lines is the major cause of the outages. Workers have endured sub-zero temperatures and wind chill factors as cold as -34.

IPL says 95 percent of homes are restored. But for residents like Frank Murphy, it's been a long wait. Murphy finally headed to a shelter Tuesday after trying to stick it out at home, where temperatures dropped to the 40s inside.

Those still without power can find resources and safety tips here.

IPL customers are also able to report outages day or night and downed power lines by calling IPL's Lights Out number at 317.261.8111.