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Power Outage Sidelines Holiday Cooks On NW Side

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ComEd Power Yard

A ComEd power yard. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 11-24-11 at 7:27 p.m.

CHICAGO (STMW) - The turkey was in the oven, the side dishes were simmering and 14 family members were expected to celebrate Thanksgiving at David Zaya’s Northwest Side home when the power went out Thursday morning.

For nearly four hours.

“Luckily my mom doesn’t procrastinate,” said Zaya, who lives with his mother on the 5700 block of North Christiana. “She got an early start.”

In the kitchen since 7:30 a.m., his mother drove her partially baked bird a mile to his aunt’s house to finish cooking it.

Around 3:30 p.m., relatives arrived bearing heaping dishes of kibbeh, tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves — traditional foods from their Assyrian culture — not knowing an errant Mylar balloon nearly derailed their holiday feast.

The balloon hit a ComEd wire at West Bryn Mawr Avenue and North Bernard Street around 11:30 a.m. Multiple wires fell and 2,000 customers on the Northwest Side — all living between Peterson, Balmoral, Kedzie and Central Park — lost power, ComEd spokeswoman Arlana Johnson said.

ComEd workers restored power to nearly all customers in the area by 2:40 p.m., Johnson said. By 5:15 p.m., the lights were back on in the area.

Quick-thinking Chicagoans were determined not to let the downed wires ruin their celebrations, which in many cases were delayed because of the outage.

Manuel Rodriguez, of the 5700 block of North Bernard, said his sister called a friend working at a restaurant to ask if he had extra space for a turkey in the restaurant oven.

“She took the turkey, and the guy is cooking it for her,” he said.

Gordana Becarevic, also of the 5700 block of North Bernard, was just putting her turkey in the oven when the power went off. Around 3 p.m. Thursday, her power was still off and the turkey was chilling on her porch.

“It’s not their fault,” said Shenshon Jaosheno, who alternated Thursday between enjoying a drink in his apartment on the 5600 block of N. St. Louis and watching ComEd crews rehang the wires. “These guys, they’re working hard.”

Jaosheno was celebrating Thanksgiving with his 88-year-old mother when they lost power.

“(The turkey) was in the oven when all of a sudden the power went out,” he said. “We put it outside on the balcony and were chilling it a little bit.”

When his power was restored, the turkey went back in the oven, and Thanksgiving was back on track.

Restored electricity was just one more thing to be thankful for, he said.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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