Cars line up at only working gas station in Yelm



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Posted on January 19, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 19 at 11:30 PM


YELM, Wash. -- There is power on the Nisqually Reservation and that's where hundreds of people came Thursday night from nearby cities like Lacey, Roy and Yelm to get gas.

Sgt. Rob Carlson patrols a city coated in snow and darkness.

"Due to the power outages, we don't have a lot of services," said Sgt. Carlson.

Desperation has driven people from Yelm to the gas station miles away.

"Only one from from Roy this direction," said Dennis Batchelor. "Nothing in Roy, nothing in Yelm." 

Some people waited in this line so long just to fill a can to fuel a generator and have heat for the night.

"52 years never had anything like this," said one driver waiting.

Batchelor called it a matter of life or death.

"Mom is on oxygen at home, and we need to keep the oxygen flowing," said Batchelor.

The power outage is easy to pinpoint.  You can blame it all on this, trees that have fallen and are just coated in ice.

Yelm police have responded to a few calls, arresting people trying to take advantage of the storms impact, which everyone now acknowledges may not be fixed for days.

"This is dangerous, very dangerous," said one resident.  "If I was Puget Sound Energy, I wouldn't be out there, not worth their lives."

More than 5,000 customers were impacted in Yelm with several thousand in the surrounding communities.