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ComEd restoring power to 145,000 customers
By Christy Gutowski | Daily Herald staff

Firefighters battle a blaze at the WINGS Resale Shop in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Firefighters battle a blaze at the WINGS Resale Shop in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Wings volunteer Ann Marie Nordby watches as fire destroys the Wings Resale Store in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Wings volunteer Ann Marie Nordby watches as fire destroys the Wings Resale Store in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Firefighters battle a blaze at the WINGS Resale Shop in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Firefighters battle a blaze at the WINGS Resale Shop in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Firefighters battle a blaze at the WINGS Resale Shop in Palatine Friday evening.

 

Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Tree damage at Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn after a storm came through the area late Friday afternnoon..

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

A Storm blasted through Antioch ripping part of the roof off Antioch Bowling Lanes which blocked traffic on Route 173 during the storm on Friday June 18..

 

George LeClaire.| Staff Photographer

A Storm blasted through Antioch ripping part of the roof off Antioch Bowling Lanes which blocked traffic on Route 173 during the storm on Friday June 18..

 

George LeClaire.| Staff Photographer

A Storm blasted through Antioch ripping part of the roof off Antioch Bowling Lanes which blocked traffic on Route 173 during the storm on Friday June 18..

 

George LeClaire.| Staff Photographer

Storms rip through the Northwest suburbs including Elk Grove Village which had several trees down. Elk Grove resident John Ritondale of the 1200 block of Cypress Lane climbs over a tree that fell in his backyard near his property missing anything important, including his house. ..

 

Mark Welsh. | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/18/2010 6:26 PM | Updated: 6/19/2010 6:53 PM

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ComEd crews were expected to continue working into Sunday to restore power to about 145,000 homes and businesses that were still in the dark as of late Saturday, in the wake of Friday's aggressive storms.

Power had been restored to 370,000 customers in Chicago and surrounding suburbs by Saturday evening, but nearly 50,000 in the North suburbs, 27,000 in the South suburbs, 21,000 in the West suburbs and another estimated 50,000 in Chicago still were without power.

ComEd spokeswoman Krissy Posey says the company has more than 300 crews working to repair downed wires and damaged utility poles but it may take until late Sunday for all of the problems to be solved.

The area was hit by two powerful storms Friday afternoon and night. The weather delayed flights at both major airports, downed trees and power lines, damaged homes and businesses. It even blew out windows at the 110-story Willis Tower in Chicago.

The storm ignited a fire that destroyed a Palatine resale shop dedicated to victims of domestic violence, in what authorities believe was caused when lightning struck a transformer on a utility pole on the corner of the building.

Officials with the charity group, Women In Need Growing Stronger, or WINGS, talked Saturday of rebuilding and finding a temporary place to continue.

"I just stood there and cried. I couldn't believe it," said Rita Canning of WINGS. "It's a total loss. I don't think insurance will begin to cover it. I don't know what we're going to do. We're really going to have to rely on the community to help us pull through this."

The strong winds and torrential rains knocked down more than 15 telephone poles along Mannheim Road, a major thoroughfare in Des Plaines. One of the downed power lines fell onto a vehicle, stranding the driver in the vehicle until ComEd was able to shut down power to the line. No one was hurt.

The stretch of Mannheim between East Touhy Avenue and Pratt Avenue was still impassable throughout Saturday as ComEd worked to restore power first, then repair structural damage, firefighters said.

The storm wreaked havoc on community festivals and outdoor sports activities, as well.

It also did its best to challenge businesses to stay open.

On such business, Costco in Schaumburg, lost power after the first storm hit. Working through the night, the store's staff contacted a vendor to secure an emergency generator, moved food into large refrigeration trucks and were able to open on time Saturday morning.

By late Saturday afternoon, the Costco had sold out of one line of generators, many of them going to homeowners still without power.

"We're committed to our customers during times of crisis," said Tyler O'Dwyer, assistant general manager for the Schaumburg store. "We're doing the best we can given the circumstances."