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One Family, Thousands More Still Without Power

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One Family, Thousands More Still Without Power

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One Family, Thousands More Still Without Power

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

An ice storm that cut a swathe through New England late this past week has left hundreds of thousands of homes without heat, electricity or warm water. In New Hampshire, a cold snap has compounded the problems. Utility officials there say power in some parts of the state may not be restored for several days. New Hampshire Public Radio's Dan Gorenstein spent part of Friday night with one family who lost power.

DAN GORENSTEIN: Thanks so much for letting me come in here.

Mr. COREY COOK(ph): No problem.

GORENSTEIN: Oh what kind of - what's the scent of that candle?

Ms. RACHEL COOK(ph): Well, I don't know, juicy nectarine.

GORENSTEIN: Lovely.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GORENSTEIN: Lovely. Do you want me to close this door?

Ms. COOK: Yeah, if you don't mind.

GORENSTEIN: Dozens of candles light up the Cooks' living room. Corey and Rachel and their 15-month-old daughter, Hemry(ph), all sit in front of their fireplace. By 8 o'clock Friday night, the Cooks had been without power for 18 hours. Corey says his typical concerns have been stripped away. In this situation, he says, he's focused on the basics.

Mr. COOK: Hauling wood in, and worrying about having enough wood and trying to figure out what we're going to eat. So that's basically been my day.

GORENSTEIN: What's really got Rachel and Corey worried is whether their pipes will freeze. So they've tried to keep their home warm enough using their fireplace. But the Cooks' modest woodpile dwindled down to the point where Corey knew it wouldn't last through Saturday.

Mr. COOK: The plan is for the electricity to come back tomorrow.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. COOK: All day, he's been going, OK, it's going to come back - now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. COOK: And then nothing happens. It's like, come on. It's not going to come back for like a few days, probably. But it's hard to admit that to yourself.

GORENSTEIN: Rachel says if they knew they'd be without power for just a day, they'd be able to manage easy enough. But not knowing, she says, especially with a baby, makes them more anxious. Saturday morning, the family bought more wood. But by yesterday afternoon, Corey left a voicemail message saying the plan wasn't working.

(Soundbite of voicemail message)

Mr. COOK: I just wanted to let you know that the house is about eight or 10 degrees colder than it was yesterday, and I heard it's supposed to get very cold tonight. So I'm going to shut off the water and drain the faucets, and we're going to be heading out.

GORENSTEIN: The family drove to Vermont to stay with Corey's parents. Given the fact they don't know if the power will be back on, he says he's not sure if they'll come back today. For NPR News, I'm Dan Gorenstein in Concord, New Hampshire.

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