Thousands in Danville still without power, health concerns raised

DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Sophia Henderson has missed work the past couple of days.

"I have been missing work to make sure my family was ok," said Henderson. She was without power from Thursday until Monday morning.

Now, she has to go though her freezer and throw out hundreds of dollars worth of food that's bad.

"The neighbors, we were all just happy to have light, to be able to see again, to be able to clean up and to know that we have power and know that everything is going back to where we can get back to, but its just the aftermath, cleaning up now," said Henderson.

Henderson's brother - Wil Gordon says being without power could put his health at risk. He sleeps with a mask for sleep apnea.

"Without that mask, I could pass away, I'm just being honest. So it's very important that I have that mask. But with the faith and trust I have in God, I'm still here," said Gordon.

And while Gordon and Henderson have been praying for their situation, they're thankful the damage they saw from Michael was minimal compared to cities south of Danville.

"Oh we're grateful. But we're praying for them because they need it more than we do. We lost power. They lost a home," said Henderson.

A couple of doors down, Alicia Barriga and her family were also without power.

"This has been devastating to our family, because my oldest one has gotten sick. We had to go to a hotel last night because he needed his breathing treatments and we did not have power. We still do not have power," said Alicia Barriga on Monday afternoon.

Barriga is the mom of two boys with special needs.

"Alex and his older brother were both born severely premature. Alex was born at 22 weeks with no chance of life and his brother was born at 23 weeks and six days with 17 percent chance of life," said Barriga.

Barriga needed her power back for her children's medicines.

"We've never had this many outages in probably 40 years or more as far as records go back, so this is a unique event for the city of Danville," said Jason Grey, Danville's Utilities director.

According to Grey, crews have been working around the clock on 16 hour shifts to help as many people like Barriga as possible.

"As a mom it just pulls on your heart strings so bad, because all you want to do is make sure your children are safe and ok," said Barriga.

"We're sorry that the power has been out as long as it has, but this is a 50-year storm if not more and hopefully it can be something that we can learn from," said Grey.