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Ohio River closes many retailers



Published: Sat, January 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ice and floods forced some to flee their homes and kept others from leaving theirs.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Business owners in a flooded Ohio River city moved possessions off their floors, including a baby grand piano hoisted above water on 6-foot ladders.

In other parts of the state, peanut butter sandwiches sustained residents who had lost power and were trying to stay warm with space heaters.

Marietta business owners stacked sandbags in front of their doors as the Ohio River continued to rise around the city, where floodwaters in September damaged hundreds of homes and businesses.

"It's not a ghost town, but there are no businesses open that I'm aware of," said Mike Cullums, spokesman for the Washington County Emergency Management Agency.

Cullums said some people voluntarily left their homes in the southeast Ohio city, and about 50 stayed in shelters. No major injuries were reported in the flooding.

But carbon monoxide fumes from a generator running inside a garage may have killed a 76-year-old northwest Ohio man found dead Friday, the Hancock County sheriff's office said.

Clarence Ray, of Vanlue, died at Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center. His wife was in stable condition, the sheriff's office said.

And northwest Ohio woman was killed in Henry County on Wednesday when her car slid off an icy road and struck a utility pole.

Rain to continue

Meteorologists predicted more rain Friday night for southern Ohio and freezing rain and up to 2 inches of snow in the north. Saturday was expected to be dry.

About 150,000 went without power for a third day Friday with temperatures in the mid-30s.

People who lost electricity used kerosene heaters, left for motels and shelters or stayed with family or friends.

"We still have a lot of work ahead of us," said Tom Tatham, spokesman for the Dayton Power & amp; Light Co., which had 25,000 customers without power in western Ohio. "Certainly, we'll be working through the weekend." The company called in repair crews from 10 other states as far away as Georgia.

By Friday afternoon, power had been restored to only one-third of customers in the western Ohio community of Union City, which lost power Wednesday when hit by the ice storm that has spread snow and sleet from the Colorado Rockies across the Plains and Great Lakes.

"It looks like a tornado has gone through here," said Josh Spradling, assistant fire chief. "We've got a bunch of power lines down, tree limbs."

Exit blocked

Ila Greene and her husband decided to stay in their home, huddling around a gas fireplace log. However, cooking was out.

Greene said the couple is getting along OK having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk.

An ice-covered tree limb fell onto the couple's driveway, preventing them from getting their car out of the garage, Greene said.

"I have cabin fever along with a lot of other people," she said.

In the Lima area in northwest Ohio, about 250 people without power spent Thursday night sleeping in shelters, and more called Friday looking for a place to stay and a hot meal, said Tom Moline, of the American Red Cross.




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