Power outage causes problems for Lincoln County, WV family with - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Power outage causes problems for Lincoln County, WV family with son on life support

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Griffithsville, WV faces life and death situation after storms knock out power on Thursday, June 5. Griffithsville, WV faces life and death situation after storms knock out power on Thursday, June 5.
GRIFFITHSVILLE, WV -

For many of us a power outage is a major inconvenience. But for a family in Griffithsville, WV in Lincoln County storms this week created a terrifying situation.

Their son is kept alive by equipment that requires electricity.

Water surrounded Samuel and Patricia Wheeler's home. But that was the least of their concerns. A power outage sent them scrambling for solutions.

"It was a life and death situation," Patricia Wheeler explained. "Our son lives on life support equipment."

They have three generators that they keep on hand for emergencies. They believe they purchased bad fuel that caused all of the generators to stop working.

With no cell service and the land lines down they found themselves in a frightening situation.

"It was terrifying because our phone went out," Patricia Wheeler said. "I could have called for help but we had no way to contact the outside world."

The Wheelers said under normal circumstances they would have called an ambulance. But without the ability to call out they did what they had to do.

"We can disconnect him and bag him," Patricia Wheeler explained. "We have a bag of oxygen in the house."

Appalachian Power spokesperson Phil Moye said in an outage restoration priority is given to areas where there is critical infrastructure, where there are the most customers or where the lines are creating a physical hazard. He said it isn't possible to prioritize areas based on customers with special needs.

Moye said Appalachian Power does keep a list of customers with special needs.

During a planned outage they notify those households by phone.