'It's horrible': Moore County residents recovering from power outage

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Thursday, December 8, 2022
'It's horrible,' Moore County residents recover from power outage
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Before thousands of Moore County residents came back online on Wednesday, some residents recalled the experience of being without power for four full days.

SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (WTVD) -- Before thousands of Moore County residents came back online on Wednesday, some residents recalled the experience of being without power for four full days.

"It's horrible, I've never gone through something like this," Southern Pines resident Diane Castaldo said. "I'm handicapped, I use a walker."

Castaldo, who lives alone in an apartment in Southern Pines, said she was freezing cold when a church member invited her to stay at her house.

"I've been blessed," Castaldo said, serving alongside her church, the Aberdeen First Baptist Church. "I was very upset with no electric, but once we were feeding other people, it made me happy that I was able to help in some way."

Wednesday's meal included cabbage, chicken, and mac & cheese, 11-year-old Jayvon Russell announced.

"I'm helping out today because I wanted to be with the people that needed help and I wanted to help the community," Jayvon said.

Jayvon's story of lighting candles and going back and forth to different houses to get essential items, such as clothing, was echoed by several others in the community.

"It's a little vulnerable," Aberdeen resident Matthew Rock said. "Having to come ask 'Can I have a shower? Can I have food?' It kind of brings us back to this place of being OK with reaching out to others."

Rock, who works two jobs, said the outage affected "everything across the board," as a professional dancer/choreographer and server.

"A lot of my businesses are with the community ... and without public spaces being open, it's hard to conduct a business," Rock said. "And part-time, I serve tables and that affects just everything across the board, especially when you depend on tips and you're not getting any work."

For Highland Trails resident Bob Allard, one of his priorities was to take care of his neighbors.

"They're in their 80s, and they're not getting out of the house," Allard said while packing a box full of food. "In fact, they're on a well so they don't have water. So, I get water still, so I've been bringing over water jugs so they can use their toilets."

The Salvation Army of the Sandhills Region said although they were ready to respond at a moment's notice if called upon, they remained on standby for the past three days.

"I also visited with our partners with the NC Baptist Men and American Red Cross volunteers to ensure that they were doing ok and not in need of anything," emergency disaster services coordinator Norman Zanders said. "I have maintained constant communication with the Moore County EOC and we continue to standby until power is restored and everything returns to normal operations."

Pinehurst Resort also aimed to return to normal operations with power restored to The Carolina Hotel on Wednesday and the Holly Inn and the Manor expected to reopen Friday.

"We're making plans to have the resort fully operational in the coming days," Pinehurst Resort said.

Despite power being restored to all Duke Energy customers in Moore County, recovery is still an uphill battle for some in the community.

Railhouse Brewery has to salvage its beer to prevent more financial loss.

"We have a full kitchen and we lost thousands of dollars worth of food that just had to be disposed of," manager Jason Hull said. "The piece of equipment that we lost keeps the beer cold and if the beer hits about 55 degrees or so, maybe 60 degrees, then there's some processes that take place that just destroy the beer and we'd be forced to dump all of it."

Staffers were emptying tanks as soon as the power was restored on Wednesday.

"It could potentially be tens of thousands of dollars if we're not able to salvage all of the beer that we have sitting in the tanks, then it's a huge loss," Hull said. "The cool weather saved us. If it would've happened in the middle of the summer, the temperature of beer would've gone up rapidly and we would've been forced to dump all of it."

Hull hopes the holiday season will bring them back up in sales as they plan to open on Thursday.

"Come and visit all the local small businesses because this is a major loss for all of us," Hull said.