As a summer resident of Rangeley coming from the borough of the Bronx in New York City, I was quite shocked when this summer’s microburst hit our little hamlet of about 30 homes – Rangeley Manor. Hundreds of trees got blown over in what I’d always perceived as my safe little neighborhood nestled in the woods. Power lines were knocked down and torn away from camps. Trees fell on sheds, garages, vehicles and homes, and came down across the roads, blocking access by utility trucks and other traffic. I was stunned when, immediately after, all my neighbors ran out of their homes at once to check on one another. Within minutes everyone with a chainsaw mobilized and began working together to cut up and remove the trees that were blocking the roads. The whole community pitched in to clear the roads of debris. It was amazing to see such teamwork in so short a time. It was like watching The Avengers, a group of heroes assembling immediately in a call to action. Within a couple of hours, trucks from Central Maine Power had access to all the downed power lines, and within 26 hours we had electricity again.

Kendra Williams

Contrast this with my husband Michael’s experience in the Bronx, where he’d remained for work. We live in a residential, tree-lined area, and when Tropical Storm Isaias came through a few weeks later, it also toppled trees and power lines, causing roads to be blocked off. Neighbors there were also quick to check on each other, but it was more likely to be done by cell phone than face-to-face. People in the Bronx don’t usually have chainsaws, so there wasn’t that kind of community action. But even those with chainsaws, like hired arborists, weren’t allowed by Con Edison, our electric company, to touch any tree across a road that had a power line tangled up in it. As a result, roads remained impassable, and the neighborhood was without power for 6 1/2 days in 95 degree weather.

Maine was much more effective in restoring electricity and getting things back to normal. We owe that to the Rangeley spirit of cooperation!


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