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Hurricane Sandy took aim at the greater Pottstown area last Monday into Tuesday, toppling trees and knocking down power lines and utility poles, resulting in at least two fatalities in the region.
While the predicted flooding was not severe in the tri-county region, tens of thousands of residents of Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties remain without power as crews work around-the-clock to restore electricity. More than 1.3 million utility customers lost power in Pennsylvania.
The first area fatality was reported late Monday as Gerald Witman, 62, of Pike Township, Berks County, was killed when he took his dogs outside around 9:30 p.m. and a 60-foot tree came down in the winds of Hurricane Sandy. Witman was standing on his porch when the tree fell onto his house and porch, striking him, state police at Reading said. Witman’s wife was inside and uninjured.
State police, fire and rescue crews arrived at the scene and found Witman deceased, police said.
A 90-year-old Upper Merion woman died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a condominium Tuesday. An emergency generator located in a garage below the living room was the source of the carbon monoxide, officials said.
In Lower Pottsgrove, a member of the township road crew was injured Tuesday while attempting to clear a fallen tree from Orlando Road in the area of Continental Road, officials confirmed.
Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz said Lee Lynch, 36, was taken to Pottstown Memorial Medical Center by Goodwill Ambulance after he was injured Tuesday afternoon.
“The road crew was working on a tree that was down across the road on top of wires, and as they were clearing the tree from the wires, the tension from the wires let loose, causing the tree to kick back,” Foltz said. “It caught the worker who was on the ground.”
Foltz said it appeared Lynch was struck by the tree in the side of his abdomen. He was treated at the scene and then transported to Pottstown Memorial Medical Center.
Foltz said the injury is a lesson to everyone to be cautious.
“This is a prime example, these guys are very skilled at what they do and this is an example that this work is very dangerous,” he said, advising that non-professionals need to take extra precautions.