Feb 15, 2013 9:49 PM
Ten years ago today, an ice storm brought the City of Lexington to a halt. About 146,000 people lost power in Lexington, Woodford, and Anderson counties. It changed the city, and it also changed lives, bringing one neighborhood closer together.
February 15th, 2003. Freezing rain encased Lexington in an icy cocoon. Trees, roads, power lines, were all coated in crystal darkness. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power. They packed the few restaurants that were open for warmth and food. People had no heat, and they feared leaving their houses, and being hit by falling trees heavy and sunken with ice.
There weren't many oak trees on Longview Drive that survived the storm, but just like the trees that do stand, so do memories for the people who still live in the neighborhood.
"Like a warzone. Everybody's yard was just piled with sticks a foot deep," says Jim Fawcett, who survived the ice storm of 2003.
It's something you never forget.
"For me, it was just about how it brought our neighborhood together," says Fawcett.
His family hosted about 17 neighbors each night during the six days they had no power. They were the only house with heat, thanks to their 1947 Gravity Heater.
"People were coming over, sharing meals, cooking food, and just helping moving trees," says Fawcett.
Curtis Carter works for Lexington Street and Roads. He credits his military background for helping him last eleven days with no power in Anderson County.
"I took my battery out of my car, and I hooked it up so we could have lights, and I strung lights up through the house like that, and we slept in my military sleeping bag," says Carter.
It was a scary time. Several homes caught fire as the power turned on. More than fifty people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, largely due to some heating their homes with charcoal grills. Fawcett's neighbor's son got carbon monoxide poisoning from generator fumes. Ten years later,
"He's probably fifteen or sixteen years old and a big, tall strapping kid; it's good to see him," says Fawcett.
To remind the neighborhood how far they've come, and to take themselves back to that time of togetherness, every year for the past seven years, Jim Fawcett and his wife threw an "Ice Party." Though they haven't thrown one recently, they continue to see the silver lining in the devastating storm.