WASHINGTON (AP) — Utility crews are struggling to catch up with a backlog of millions of people without electricity for a fourth hot day.

Meanwhile, frustration is growing.

Adding to the urgency of the repairs are the sick and elderly.

They are especially vulnerable without air conditioning in the sweltering triple-digit heat. Many have sought refuge in hotels or basements.

Officials fear the death toll, already at 22, could climb because of the heat and widespread use of generators. They emit
fumes that can be dangerous in enclosed spaces.

Maryland reported Monday that three people had died in the recent heat wave. The deaths were not storm-related.

Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips stressed that people who are in areas without power need to take advantage of cooling centers.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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