Post-Sandy, Pa. looks to plug in, get back to work

By Patrick Walters

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

The seven storm-attributed deaths included an elderly Lancaster County man who fell from a tree he was trimming in advance of the approaching storm and a teen who struck a fallen tree while riding an ATV in Northampton County.

In eastern Pennsylvania, a 66-year-old man died of carbon monoxide poisoning and several other people were taken to a hospital after being overcome by fumes from a generator running in a garage because they had no electric power, and a 90-year-old suburban Philadelphia woman was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator turned on when the storm cut power to her home.

An 8-year-old boy died when a tree limb fell on him in Franklin Township, north of Montrose. In Berks County, a 62-year-old man died after a tree fell on top of a house in Pike Township, near Boyertown. And in Somerset County, a woman died when the car in which she was a passenger skidded off a snowy, slushy roadway and overturned into a pond.

In south-central Pennsylvania, firefighters rescued a York County woman Monday night after she jumped into a raging creek to "save" a couple dozen wild ducks. Justina Laniewski, 41, was plucked from neck-high waters and then charged with risking a catastrophe and public drunkenness, among other offenses.

Despite Sandy's huge size and soaking rains, landlocked Pennsylvania managed to avoid the kind of widespread, catastrophic flooding that marked Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011. It also fared far better than New York and New Jersey.

The state announced it had set up "megashelters" at West Chester and East Stroudsburg universities to house up to 1,800 evacuees from those neighboring states, but a few hours later learned they would not be needed. Pennsylvania also was sending help to its coastal neighbors, including 35 ambulances and a search-and-rescue unit specializing in collapsed buildings.

"I'm certainly glad I'm not Gov. (Chris) Christie or Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo right now, with what they're facing," Corbett said.

Along with widespread power outages, Sandy will be remembered in Pennsylvania for its howling, middle-of-the-night winds. Anything that wasn't tied down or stowed was at risk of becoming airborne. Wind gusts reached 81 mph in Allentown and 76 mph in Bensalem, outside Philadelphia, according to the National Weather Service.

Associated Press writers Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia, Peter Jackson and Marc Levy and Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh and Michael Rubinkam contributed to this report.

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