Indianapolis (July 14, 2015) - In a darkened nursery in the 1400 block of South Mickley Avenue, Shawn Stewart was keeping close watch over his twin babies, Kaitlyn and Dakota. The babies were born three months prematurely and have special medical needs.
“They both have chronic lung disease,” Stewart said. “And they’re both on apnea machines and oxygen machines.”
Those machines wouldn’t be running without the gasoline powered generator running in the garage. Stewart says his house hasn’t had electricity since Monday afternoon when a powerful storm blew through central Indiana. More than 24 hours later, the generator was powering the medical machines, and two large fans to circulate the air in the babies’ room. The children seemed to be resting comfortably Tuesday afternoon. But Stewart doesn’t think that will last much longer than another day.
“We’re trying to do bottles and feeding tubes and everything else in the dark,” he said. “It’s been rough.”
Stewart says if the power doesn’t come back on by sometime Wednesday, he and his wife will probably take their babies back to the hospital for observation.
“Electric company is telling me they got 32,000 other people without power and they’ll get to us when they can,” Stewart said.
IPL does have a Med Alert system, where customers with medical needs are placed on a high priority list. But Stewart says the babies have only been home from the hospital for about a week, and he hasn’t gotten his family onto the list yet.
After Fox59/CBS4 alerted an IPL representative about the situation, they said they would dispatch a repair crew to Stewart’s address right away.
Not far away, near 10th and Norfolk Streets, more residents were sweating it out, waiting for their power to come back on. Adam Maxson was doing a quick repair job after a tree went through his front window early Tuesday morning.
“We’ve been boarding it up, trying to get ready for the next round of rain so hopefully, everything will stay dry and safe,” Maxson said.
Up and down neighborhood streets in Speedway and the west side of Indianapolis, downed trees, branches and power lines tell the story. IPL repair crews are scrambling to keep up with the weather as each round of storms brings new problems.
IPL was reporting more than 27,000 customers without power in Marion County as of Tuesday afternoon. The utility had already called in support teams from Tennessee to help answer the hundreds of repair jobs around the city.
That work continued near 30th Street and Tibbs Avenue, where a large row of power lines was brought down by a tree Tuesday morning.
Sarah Thompson, who lives on Carlton Way near Lynhurst said her power had already been restored Tuesday. But there was still a huge tree lodged into the roof of her house. She was thankful that she had made her son sleep downstairs Monday night.
“The upstairs is basically destroyed,” Thompson said. “There’s damage all the way around. We lost two other trees, one fell into our neighbors garage, one fell on their car. Their tree fell on the next neighbors house. It’s just been a mess.”