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Death Toll At Least 7 After Ice Storm, Power Still Out For Some

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GRAND BLANC TWP. (WWJ/AP) - The death toll in Michigan from last weekend’s ice storm has risen to at least seven, authorities said Wednesday, and tens of thousands of homes and businesses are still without power.

Thursday afternoon, Michigan’s largest utilities said that about almost 100,000 of the 533,000 homes and businesses that had lost power since the ice storm hit Saturday night remained offline. About 11,000 of those outages are in the metro Detroit area.

Authorities in Clinton and Genesee counties said two people died of carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday after running emergency generators in attached garages because their homes were without power. Another two people died Monday in an accident on a snow- and ice-covered road in Harris Township.

The Clinton County Sheriff’s Department said a couple and their two children were sickened Tuesday morning at their home in Eagle Township, about 10 miles west of Lansing. The woman and children were treated at a hospital and released, but the 58-year-old man died, Deputy Eric J. Thomson said. The man’s name wasn’t released.

And in Grand Blanc Township, an 84-year-old man was killed and his wife was sickened by carbon monoxide fumes at their home, police said. His name wasn’t released.

Police said a 73-year-old woman died Tuesday in Flint when her SUV went through an intersection with blacked-out stoplights and into the path of a pickup truck. The other driver was unhurt. The victim’s name wasn’t immediately released.

Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. said 89,000 of its customers were offline Thursday morning, down from a high of 348,000 outages. Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. said about 12,000 of its 150,000 affected customers remained blacked out. And about 4,400 customers of Lansing’s municipal power company remained offline out of 35,000 affected.

DTE says it expects “the vast majority of customers impacted will be restored sometime” Thursday, while Consumers Energy hopes to have most people back online by Saturday.

Snow was falling across most of Michigan on Christmas night, with temperatures in the teens and 20s.

Lacking power at their home, Jill Ghantous and her family from Swartz Creek opened their presents Wednesday morning at a hotel in Genesee County’s Grand Blanc Township, southeast of Flint.

“I guess we can kind of pull Christmas out of nothing,” Ghantous told MLive.com. “You just get resourceful and try to make it the best you can.”

The family members took the Christmas stockings from their home and hung them from a dresser in the hotel room.

They also bought a small tree for the room, said Ghantous, whose children are 10 and 6.

“We had to put a sign in the window to let Santa know to come here,” she said.

One of the many Lapeer residents still without power is Brian Kendrick.

Even though it’s been several days, he said he’s still grateful for the hard work line crews have been doing during the holiday season.

“It’s been rough on everybody,” he told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Jon Hewett. “And we’re thankful for every state that’s sent help to get this power up and running.”

“It’s my understanding that it’s somewhere around 11 states that have been brought into this, so, I know it interruped their families and Christmas time,” he said, “so all I can do is thank them.”

Kendrick is one of dozens of people staying in a nearby shelter until power is restored.

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TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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