North Texas power outages bring life-threatening problems for so - Dallas News |

North Texas power outages bring life-threatening problems for some

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Some North Texans are still living without power after an early winter storm caused icy branches to fall on many power lines.

The remaining outages are spotty, but as of Monday night, some areas in south Arlington and west Fort Worth are still waiting for the switch to turn on.

Oncor deployed contractors early Monday morning, and many will work through the night trying to restore power.

For some, the wait has been life-threatening.

"I was smothered bad because the mask was over my face and it pushes air into me so I could breathe, but there was nothing going in," said Wayne Barlow.

Barlow woke up in an oxygen-less panic at 3 a.m. Ice on nearby trees knocked power out to his neighborhood for more than 12 hours.

The Vietnam veteran suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and says he was exposed to Agent Orange during his time in the Army.

He has only 30 percent lung capacity and depends on an electronic breathing machine several times a day.

Had Oncor not fixed his line, Barlow says he would've likely spent Monday night in the emergency room.

"I would've had to go to hospital if it hadn't come back on, because without breathing treatments, I can't breathe," he said.

Oncor had hundreds of crews trying to repair downed or dysfunctional lines. Some houses had powers, while others didn't.

During the storm, electricity became more than a utility; it became a luxury.

"They don't appreciate ‘til they ain't got it," he said.

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