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Kanawha power outages down to 2,588

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- About 2,588 customers remained without electricity in Kanawha County Tuesday evening, as people continue to recover from the massive June 29 windstorm.

Water and ice distribution centers remained open throughout the day at the Appalachian Power Park parking lot in Charleston, Sissonville Middle School, East Bank Middle School, Herbert Hoover High School and Pinch Elementary School. Spoiled food drop-off sites also were open at four spots around the county.

Shelters remain open at the King Center in Charleston and at DuPont Middle School.

In Putnam County, about 426 customers remained without power at 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to AEP's website.

The majority of outages in Putnam County are in rural areas, like Red House, Liberty and Confidence, Putnam's emergency services director said Monday. Estimated restoration dates for those areas are not listed on the AEP site.

A little more than 13,910 of the company's customers in West Virginia were still without electricity at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

For the second straight day, Charleston city officials warned residents about unlicensed contractors who may be trying to take advantage of the recent storms.

Unlicensed tree-removal contractors may be capitalizing by trying to drum up business in Charleston, mayoral assistant Rod Blackstone warned in a news release Tuesday.

City Building Commissioner Tony Harmon issued a similar warning to residents Monday.

Legitimate contractors, licensed by both the city and state, should have a plan for disposing debris from private property, rather than simply piling it beside the street, Blackstone said. Contractors also should be able to show a certificate of insurance to cover work that's done on private property, he said.

While Street Department crews have been working overtime to clear roads and remove debris since the devastating June 29 windstorm and more recent storms, it may take weeks to finish the job, Blackstone said. Property owners may expect long delays in getting storm debris cleared.

People on public assistance who lost food because of storm-driven power outages have until July 30 to apply for replacement food stamps.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources extended the deadline late Monday so it can help families on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program recover.

Anyone who lost food after the late June storms can apply for replacement benefits through local DHHR offices.

Also Tuesday morning, a power line caught fire and set a tree ablaze near the 45th Street block of Kanawha Avenue.

"An electrical line passed through the tree and caught fire. When we arrived, power company crews were already on the scene and were able to cut the power off so that we could extinguish the line," said Charleston Fire Captain Rob Kinser.

Crews removed additional tree limbs that were invading the power lines in the area.

David Rossman lives nearby and was riding his bike when he saw the start of the fire.

"I heard a 'pow.' It just blew," he said. "It was smoldering."

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.

Staff writers Kate White, Jim Balow and Mackenzie Mays and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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