Red Cross Shelters Busy After Sandy

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The number of people without power in Lackawanna County is dwindling.

According to PPL, about 7,000 homes and businesses still have no electricity.

Many of the people affected are visiting shelters set up throughout the area.

People were coping at one shelter in Thornhurst.

The firefighters and volunteers at the Thornhurst Fire Company at the Lackawanna, Monroe County line have served close to 300 meals over the last three days on very little sleep. They, like the people they're serving, are without power.

“It starts to get a little old after the second day. It's fun the first day, not so much fun the second day, and it gets less fun as we go on,” said Jim Howley of Thornhurst Township Emergency Management Agency.

The fire company bordering the Poconos sits in one area hardest hit by Sandy. It’s a designated Red Cross shelter for the Poconos and Lackawanna County. That's where many of the people staying there are from.

Including more than 30 students from a nearby boarding school, they've been without power since Monday night.

“It's a good learning experience for the kids. They get to see where you can't just take power for granted. You can't take all the things we have for granted. It doesn't always come easy,” said John Jensen, a teacher.

That's a lesson everyone has had to learn this week. To show their appreciation to the utility workers hard at work outside, the folks at Thornhurst Fire Company have been providing temporary shelter to them too.

“They work long hours, long hours, and they stop in and get coffee. The tree trimmers are the same way,” said Howley.

Officials think when the students have their power back, then most of the firefighters' work at this shelter will be done, but they said, it will stay open as long as needed.

“Without them we'd probably have to travel a much greater distance for emergency shelter so we definitely appreciate them and all our help,” said Jensen.