Louisville Area Storm Recovery Turns Fatal; Line Worker Dies

LOUISVILLE, KY -- A utility worker from Florida helping Louisville Gas & Electric Co. restore power after Sunday's windstorm died last night of possible electrocution, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal in its Saturday edition,.

Louisville Metro Police told the newspaper the incident happened just after 8:30 p.m. in the 6600 block of Huff Lane in the Lake Dreamland area north of Pleasure Ridge Park, said police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley.

The worker, who was described as being in his mid- to late 20s, was pronounced dead at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, she said. Smiley said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

LG&E has 1,900 people working on the power restoration effort -- with 1,600 of them coming from out of town. Calls to LG&E were not immediately returned last night, reports the C-J.

The death is the fourth in the Louisville area attributed to the storm. The day it hit, 10-year-old Frederick Wilson of Shelby County died after being struck by a limb that broke off a tree in the wind. Another person in Clark County, Ind., was killed by a falling tree. On Wednesday, Kristen Michelle Estes, 22, of Louisville, died after being exposed to carbon monoxide from an emergency generator inside her home.

Some 80,000 LG&E customers were still without power last night after the remnants of Hurricane Ike ripped through the metro area and left 301,000 customers in the dark.

Yesterday, signs of progress -- big and small -- were evident in the effort to return Jefferson County to normal after Ike brought winds of up to 75 mph, breaking trees, downing power lines, damaging property.

Jefferson County public schools will reopen Monday. Superintendent Sheldon Berman said yesterday that there will be generators to power any schools that don't have electricity restored. He said the missed days will be added to the end of the school year. That means that, as things stand now, schools will let out June 1, the newspaper reports.

Gov. Steve Beshear has requested a presidential disaster declaration that, if approved, would allow the state and local governments to recoup up to 75 percent of the cost of removing debris, providing emergency protection for citizens and repairing infrastructure.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, said he has asked that Louisville be included in a billion-dollar disaster relief bill that will be considered by Congress next week for floods in Iowa and the hurricanes in the Southeast. If that happens, money would be provided through federal agencies for individuals and nonprofits for uninsured damage caused by the storm, reports the newspaper.

Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said Kentucky National Guardsmen will work at debris drop-off sites starting Monday to help unload vehicles so traffic can move through more quickly.

He also said yesterday that community and government centers will be open through the weekend so people will have a place to go to charge batteries for medical devices -- or just about anything else, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Copyright - The Louisville Courier-Journal

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