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Progress Reported In Md. Snowstorm Recovery

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The share of homes and business still without power in snow-covered Garrett County fell below half Friday as utility and road crews gained the upper hand in confronting blizzard damage from Superstorm Sandy.

“I think we’re well on our way to getting this down to a manageable situation,” said Brad Frantz, the county’s public safety and emergency management director.

By late afternoon Friday, five days after the storm struck, Potomac Edison reported 10,700 Garrett County customers without power. That’s about 47 percent of electricity users in the mountainous county.

Company spokesman Todd Meyers said power would be restored to 75 percent of customers by midnight Friday and to 95 percent by midnight Monday.

He said Potomac Edison had more than 300 linesman, 150 tree-trimmers and 80 hazard responders working to repair fallen power lines.

“I’ve never seen this many utility resources all packed into a spot like this,” he said.

Nearly all roads had at least one lane open and all should be passable by the weekend, county roads chief Jay Moyer said. County road crews, assisted by the National Guard, the State Highway Administration and the state Department of Natural Resources were working around the clock to clear trees and branches felled by the 30-inch snowfall.

Frantz reported several emergency calls in recent days for carbon monoxide poisoning caused by improper use of generators and portable heaters. He said people should make sure such devices have enough ventilation to prevent a buildup of fumes in homes or attached garages.

Elsewhere, the Maryland State Fire Marshal warned coastal residents that high tides from the storm may have exposed long-buried, live military explosives along shorelines. The agency urged anyone finding such devices to leave the area and call police.

Statewide, there were 16,200 power outages, down from a peak of nearly 366,000.

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

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