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Montreal Area Braces For Continued Outage

Wed., Jan. 28, 1998

About 150,000 Quebeckers in towns near Montreal began their fourth week without power Tuesday as utility crews struggled to complete repairs of transmission lines damaged by a devastating ice storm.

Power has been slowly coming back in most areas of Quebec as 1,225 repair teams work 12- to 16-hour days in bitter cold. But utility workers said it could be two more weeks before all customers get their power back.

More than 3 million people were blacked out at the peak of the storm, which began Jan. 5 when freezing rain blanketed southern Quebec and eastern Ontario.

New relief crews began arriving Tuesday from other parts of Canada and the United States.

Lee Daugherty, a lineman from Delaware, Ohio, worked for nine days on storm damage in New York before coming to Quebec last week. He was asked Tuesday by the provincial power company, Hydro-Quebec, to stay another five to 10 days.

“I’ve never seen so many bucket trucks and line trucks in one place in all my life,” said Daugherty, 36. “I’ve never seen so many trees down and so much snow in all my life.”

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