Action News Troubleshooters: Military community left in the dark for days

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Action News Troubleshooters: Military community left in the dark for days. Nydia Han reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on November 7, 2018.

A community of military families turned to the Action News Troubleshooters after a power outage in their housing community left them in the dark for days.

These families sacrifice to serve our country, and when they lost power they felt truly powerless to do anything about it.

Some of them struggling incredibly hard without any power.

Like the Ravenell's, whose daughter Kennedy has what is referred to as congenital strictor esophagus, a kind of a closing at the entrance of her stomach. She can only eat pureed foods. They were unable to feed their daughter during the outage.

"It's been very stressful," said Juliska Ravenell. "I had to drive two-and-a-half hours north to bring her to my mom's because I couldn't keep running around on base."

Daphne Carter boiled water on the family grill so she could bathe her four children, including a 6-month-old.

"This isn't a safe way to live," said Carter.

Julius Lipscomb had to throw out all the groceries in his refrigerator and freezer.

"This is the dinner that would have lasted me for two weeks," he said.

These are just some of the families who've been in the dark in the Falcon Court North community, just outside Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

"As far as when power will be restored, I'm not sure," said Kelly Wells. "It's stressful with two kids."

A private company called United Communities operates Falcon Court North, and the rent these families pay the company is supposed to include electricity.

"At the end of the day we're still having to pay for something that is not our fault, and we're not being compensated for it," said Lipscomb.

Matthew Garron, regional manager of United Communities, said it was a catastrophic failure that occurred at the substation.

"There was a surge of electricity and it created a fire in the cabinet," he said.

Garron said the company has had the gargantuan task of replacing all the impacted transformers. He promised power would be restored to the entire community within 24 hours of the Troubleshooters' visit.

United Communities says it's tried to ease the burden of residents by providing food, ice, and entertainment during the outage and will consider other ways to compensate them.

"Again, our residents' comfort and safety is our primary goal and we're going to sit down and try to see what makes sense as far as any type of reimbursement or credit or that type of thing," said Garron.

And indeed, the day after the Troubleshooters visited the power was back on for all residents. United Communities also issued rent reimbursement checks for every day each household was without electricity.

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UNITED COMMUNITIES STATEMENT:

Dear Residents,

As you are aware, yesterday around 4:00pm we had a catastrophic issue that took place at the Falcon Courts North substation which is the primary electrical supply for the housing area. Due to the scope of work to repair the substation we are projecting the power to be restored by Tuesday October 9th. Our contractors will be working through the weekend to correct the issue. In the mean-time to help ease the burden below please find a few things we will be offering along with a list of events:
Dry ice and bags of ice can be picked up from our maintenance self-help office until 7:00pm tonight and between 8:00am-12:00pm Saturday and Sunday.
Friday
5:00pm-7:00pm- Burger Burn (BBQ at Wacky World)
Saturday
8:00am-12:00pm- Community Yard Sale and Continental Breakfast (Saxton Community Center)
2:00pm- Hotel Transylvania (Movie at Base McGuire Theatre) **Limited seating
Sunday
12:00pm-8: 00 pm- Open bowling (Ft. Dix Bowling Alley) **First come first served basis
Monday
8:00am-10:00am- Continental Breakfast (Saxton Community Center)

We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Respectfully,

United Communities

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