TORONTO (AP) - A broken water main knocked out power to 100,000
people in a residential area near downtown Toronto during a bitter cold snap, closing some subways stations and disrupting the morning rush hour Friday.
Residents scrambled to find extra blankets and clothing as overnight temperatures plunged to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 20 degrees Celsius).
"At midnight, I went out to see if anybody had their lights on but the streets were pitch black. I saw just a couple taxis and police cars slowly patrolling the neighborhood. There was this very eerie feeling," said Karri Ojanen, whose home lost electricity at about 10 p.m. EST Thursday.
"I went back home, made some hot tea, had lots of candles burning, got all our extra blankets out and used the gas oven for a little while for heat," said Ojanen.
Toronto Hydro spokesman Paul Reesor said Friday afternoon that electricity had been restored to about half of the homes and businesses left in the dark after the broken water main flooded a power station Thursday night.
The outage caused problems during Friday morning rush hour because some traffic lights were not working and several subway stations were closed.
"I am so cold. I'm not going to thaw until next week," said Jeff Sanford, who could not get a subway and walked 45 minutes to work in 1 degree Fahrenheit (minus 17 degrees Celsius) temperatures.
"I couldn't get on any of the shuttle buses. They were all filled. People were standing watching the packed buses go by, just shivering. I saw one guy walking along the sidewalk with a bunch of sleeping bags," he said.
Heated shelters have been opened in the city. Some schools closed because of the outage.
Cities in Atlantic Canada also experienced power outages Friday. About 3,000 customers lost power in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)