JOLIET, Ill. (CBS) — It had been four days as of Thursday, and more than 93,000 customers were still without power.
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, some got so frustrated with the situation that they took matters into their own hands – including one senior in Joliet who put his desperation on a sign.
“They told us Saturday, so somebody had to do something,” said Don Raub, who lives at Social Senior Living in Joliet.
Raub had been living for days without power. Generators allowed air conditioning and lights to work in the hallways, but nowhere else.
“I said to myself, ‘We’ve got to have help,’” Raub said. “Oh, was it hot.”
“Very hot, yep,” said Yosanne Winston, executive director of Solstice. “With the power out, the elevators obviously don’t work, and we’ve been shuttling food up three flights of stairs.”
Raub, 75, took matters into his own hands by scribbling his plea to ComEd. He put a sign on a cardboard box with Solstice’s address, reading, “ComEd, 901 Essington Rd., help us please.”
He then took his wheelchair into the street.
“People were waving, clapping, big trucks were going by (honking their horns),” Raub said.
Since the Monday derecho ravaged the Midwest on Monday afternoon, ComEd as of Thursday still had hundreds of thousands of outages to work through.
“Nobody up and down this block nobody has power,” said Kathryn Petrek.
Petrek lives in a Joliet neighborhood just minutes away, relying on a tiny generator to get by.
“It’s been very hot, it’s been very noisy with all the generators going, so sleeping at night has been very difficult,” she said.
The seniors at Solstice have finally been able to get their power back.
“I feel like God smiled on us,” Raub said.
But neighbors down the road hope their time is coming soon too.
“All we’ve heard from ComEd is by sometime Saturday afternoon,” Petrek said.
And can she make it to Saturday afternoon?
“Not comfortably,” Petrek said.
Parra asked ComEd why it took a senior citizen writing on a cardboard box to get their attention. A ComEd representative said senior homes are in fact a priority to get back online with power.
However, ComEd said while it can get power back to senior homes quickly in a typical storm, this one was so devastating that it took longer for some senior facilities took longer.
ComEd said repairs that were needed were significant, and the utility has “had to completely rebuild the system in some of these areas.” Thus, even priority customers like senior facilities have had some delays, ComEd said.
As of Thursday, 68,000 customers remained without power, and 692,000 customers in Northern Illinois have had their power restored since Monday.
Joliet is in the South Region, which got hit the hardest. Harvey, also in the south region, reportedly had about 85 percent of its customers in the dark as of Wednesday.