Power remains out for hundreds after linesman's death in southeast NB

Power infrastructure is still covered in ice on Thursday in a part of southeast New Brunswick where a linesman was killed Tuesday night.  (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)
Power infrastructure is still covered in ice on Thursday in a part of southeast New Brunswick where a linesman was killed Tuesday night. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)

About 800 customers are still without power in the area where an N.B. Power linesman was killed on Tuesday night while trying to restore power after an ice storm.

N.B. Power's website shows an ongoing outage in an area near Hopewell Rocks. The estimated restoration time is between 8 and 9 p.m. Friday.

As a result, the new Village of Fundy Albert has set up a warming centre at 9 Bicentennial Rd.

Mayor Bob Rochon said the warming centre will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until power is restored. He said it's being powered by a generator.

In addition to being able to charge devices, residents can grab a coffee and sweets, he said.

N.B. Power was asked if the delay in restoring power to the area was due to the ongoing investigation into the death, but spokesperson Marc Belliveau referred inquiries to WorkSafeNB.

Shane Fowler/CBC
Shane Fowler/CBC

Laragh Dooley, a spokesperson for WorkSafe, did not answer a list of questions sent on Thursday afternoon.

"At this time all we can tell you is that WorkSafeNB continues to investigate this tragic incident," she said in a brief emailed response.

"We cannot comment on the injured workers condition, only to say it was serious. Our thoughts are with the families of both workers."

Google maps
Google maps

Few details are being released about what happened Tuesday night in the woods in Curryville.

Cpl. Kevin Glode of the Caledonia detachment of the RCMP said officers responded to the call just before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

He said two workers had fallen from a power pole in the woods. One of them died at the scene and the other was taken to hospital in serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Shane Fowler/CBC
Shane Fowler/CBC

Glode said police determined there was "no criminality" involved in the incident and turned the scene over to investigators with WorkSafeNB.

Resident Caitlin Rutledge, who lives on the Caledonia Mountain Road, was out of power for almost four days — from early Monday morning until Thursday. She said the scene left in the ice storm's wake was "apocalyptic."

"There was a bunch of power lines down. They're all up now. But our phone line actually got ripped out of our house. All our bushes are destroyed. There's a bunch of fallen trees in our backyard. Lots of damage done within the whole area."

Shane Fowler/CBC
Shane Fowler/CBC

She said pretty much everything is encased in an inch of ice.

While the majority of residents lost power, Rochon, the mayor, said some residents are on a different grid.

"But for the most part, everyone from Riverside Albert down to Alma are without power."

Shane Fowler/CBC
Shane Fowler/CBC

Rochon said transmission lines to the community are "still coated in ice."

He said the higher elevations were particularly hard hit "and the infrastructure basically crumbled."

"The only storm of this magnitude that I recall was back in the 1980s, when I was here as a police officer, and it was probably as bad if not worse than this.

"But I haven't seen anything of this magnitude for quite some time."