51,000 still without power a week after ice storm

Monday, February 2, 2009 | 4:16 p.m. CST; updated 5:36 p.m. CST, Monday, February 2, 2009

ST. LOUIS — About 51,000 homes and businesses in southern Missouri remain without power, almost a week after ice and snow paralyzed the southern part of the state.

About 4,000 AmerenUE workers are repairing damage from the past week's storm that downed more than 4,000 poles and hundreds of lines. Ameren said that 19 of 34 southeast Missouri towns with no power should have service by the end of the day Monday.


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The St. Louis-based utility said power to all its customers is expected to be restored Wednesday, more than a week after the icy weather system swept southern Missouri. Ameren's latest outage count was 12,810.

Around 24,000 electric cooperative users remain without service, and the Missouri Public Utilities Alliance says 15,000 of its member customers are still waiting.

Meanwhile, Sikeston emergency officials say they are receiving reports of carbon monoxide poisoning around the city.

Sgt. Jim McMillen, of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, said gas generators must not be run in an enclosed area.

"This is a very serious issue and could cause death to everyone in the home," McMillen said.

He said using propane or kerosene heaters not approved for indoor use can emit carbon monoxide and reduce oxygen levels in the home.

The power outages in southeast Missouri will mean the week off for several college campuses.

Three Rivers Community College has canceled classes through Friday as crews continue efforts to restore power after last week's massive ice storm.

The closure involves the main campus in Poplar Bluff as well as all satellite campuses.

Also shut down for the entire week are regional campuses for Southeast Missouri State University in Kennett, Malden and Sikeston. The main campus in Cape Girardeau is open.

Last week's ice storm also left hundreds of animals with no place to go.

Many shelters won't take dogs and cats. The Humane Society of Missouri recently took 60 animals from the Caruthersville shelter.

An emergency shelter has been set up in New Madrid, a place where pet owners forced from their homes can temporarily leave their pets. The emergency shelter is aiding people in hard-hit New Madrid, Butler and Pemiscot counties.


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