Power outage turns to critical ordeal for ailing Haltom City man

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 25 at 12:51 AM

HALTOM CITY — Cleanup from Monday's storm is bad at the Shelby home in Haltom City. 

The family lost two large trees. But it was a power line that went down Monday along with one of the trees that created an even bigger problem inside the house.

Without power, 69-year-old Charles Shelby was unable to recharge his oxygen tank.

"It's pretty rough," he said.

"He can't go without his oxygen because he gets out of breath," explained wife Lujean Shelby. "He breathes real hard, and he has to have it to sleep under, and I was worried about it."

An extension cord that transported lifesaving electricity from a neighbor's house kept oxygen flowing after the power went out Monday.

Distressed, Mrs. Shelby called Oncor to beg for help.

Three days," she said. "They said I have to give them three days' notice."

After News 8 contacted Oncor, a crew quickly responded. However, after evaluating the situation, an employee said he couldn't help until the homeowners fixed the electric box that was ripped from their house during the storm.

Oncor confirmed the equipment attached to the house is the homeowner's responsibility. It's also the homeowner's responsibility to keep trees near powerlines trimmed properly.

Aware of the severity of this situation, Oncor worked to get help for the Shelby family. They found an organization to cover the cost of the electrician, and late Tuesday the power was restored.

Electric companies have a critical care list for medically fragile residents like Charles Shelby. The list makes residents with health issues a priority during outages. The Shelby family was unaware of the list, but plans to sign up as soon as possible.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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