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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Cleveland Mayor News Conference

Aired August 15, 2003 - 06:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The mayor, Mayor Jane Campbell of Cleveland, speaking now to reporters. We want to go live to Cleveland and listen in.
JANE CAMPBELL, CLEVELAND MAYOR: Morgan (ph) has just come up. This is, you know, obviously happening on a moment-by-moment basis. Most, if not all, of the secondary stations that serve the suburban communities are up.

What does that mean? That means that we now have 5,000 miles of pipe that transfers water and we have to flush the air out of all of that pipe in order to make the system work. As people begin to get water, it is important that everyone abide by the boil alert. That means when the water comes, there may be impurities because the system has not been flowing. And so when you get water, you have to boil it for four to five minutes for the -- during the first 24-hour period from the time that water is restored to your area.

We all -- we have continued our plan to have the water buffaloes come in place and those will begin to be operational at noon. And the reason we are doing that is because the higher the elevation that you are at, the longer it will take for the pipes to work and the water to flow. And so when -- we'll be doing a briefing at 8:30 and at that time we'll be able to tell you where the water buffaloes will be located. But those water buffaloes should be available some time around the noon hour today.

We have power beginning to be restored to the city of Cleveland. Cleveland Public Power is gradually restoring the power. There are 23 substations for Cleveland Public Power and we are seeing the restoration of power first in the Collinwood (ph) area and it will move through the city. As we do this, it's important that we have to coordinate with each of our linemen to make sure that all is clear before we turn on the breakers. And we have to go individually to each particular substation, turn on the breakers and it -- we expect that that will take approximately two hours for Cleveland Public Power to come fully on-line.

We have had fabulous cooperation from First Energy. And as they got their system running, they have worked very closely with us with, particularly with the water folks, and have been providing for us as much power as we needed as we move forward to get the water system operational.

What that means, many people have been asking the all-important question, will the Browns game be played? And it appears that we are going to have that facility operational and we will be able to have the Browns game.

The other question people have asked is that this is the day of the Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy and mass is at 10:00. It is our understanding that there will be appropriate services in Little Italy so that the mass can go forward and the Feast of the Assumption can continue to proceed.

Let me give you a report on the safety situation in our community. Overall, the residents of Cleveland cooperated in a very good way with our safety forces. They were particularly helpful to one another, reaching out to the elderly and abiding by the curfews, staying home, staying off the roads. And we have asked people not to come into the downtown area until noon. And we are hoping that once again they will continue to abide in that way.

We had a small number of more break-ins over the evening than we had -- would have on a normal night, but we have not seen any widespread evidence of looting, you know people walking around carrying TVs or sofas or any of that kind of thing.

We did battle, over the course of the evening, three fires. The most serious was in Ward 2 (ph) where there was an elderly couple. It appears that there was candles -- there were candles in use and those two people are in critical condition.

We have -- right now there is a fire that we believe is under control at a nursing home at East 173rd and Nucle (ph) Avenue. But again, our firefighters have been able to respond.

As I told you last night, we had the water tankers that came to participate in this effort from around the state and those water tankers are operational and are here with our -- with our fire service. Our EMS has been operating 22 squads all evening, and they have been consistently making runs, particularly dealing with people who are energy dependent who are dealing with oxygen and other matters.

Tragically, we did lose a police officer last night. Actually, the death of the officer did not have anything to do with the power outage or with any response to any of these matters. We -- it appears that he had a heart attack while on duty in his own car and his family is in process of notification. So if you would just offer your prayers for our police force, who anytime we lose an officer it is a tragedy, but it does not appear related to this particular situation.

We will be collecting garbage. Anyone who has normal garbage collection on Friday, put your garbage out because we will be around to collect the garbage. We have the appropriate fuel, we have the appropriate -- we have the appropriate trucks, we have all of that and we will not have that tomorrow. So it's very warm and we need for people to put their garbage out.

We also remind people that there is a no swimming alert, because one of the things that happens is the sewer system has certain of its activities are triggered by power. And when those cannot function properly, there is sewage that is released into the lake. And so it is very important that no matter how much it might seem like a beach day, do not go in the water.

Our traffic signals are coming on-line, but we're seeing that about 20 percent of the traffic signals, even as the power comes on, the traffic signals are not functioning appropriately. So as you come to an intersection, if you do not have the traffic signal functioning, treat it as a four way stop. We will have the appropriate traffic controllers out to the extent that's possible. And so we just want to remind people that it's important to slow down when you are approaching that.

We did visit 70 -- we were in contact with 70 different senior housing facilities to make sure that our seniors were doing well and they appear to be doing fine.

And the city facilities will all open at noon. City Hall will open at noon. We're inviting people in the downtown area to open their facilities at noon. Our parks and our recreation centers, our pools will be open at noon. And so we want to make sure that anyone who is ready to come -- you know supposed to come work comes to work at noon and we will providing those facilities.

QUESTION: Can you announce (INAUDIBLE) some of the first residents (INAUDIBLE) water?

CAMPBELL: What...

COSTELLO: All right, we're going to break away from this. Mayor Jane Campbell of Cleveland talking that power is gradually being restored. More importantly, water gradually being restored.

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