Storm-felled trees block Md. elderly from leaving their homes

Lynn Bailes (left) and his wife (2nd left), both of whom are hearing impaired, talk to a neighbor. The couple has been stranded in their Silver Spring, Md. home after an oak blocked the only way out of their cul-de-sac.

(CBS News) SILVER SPRING, Md. - Many people across six states are dealing with a heat wave with no power.

In Silver Spring, Maryland neighborhood, a dozen trees lost their battle with the derecho - a widespread windstorm that moves in a straight line normally coupled with a heavy thunderstorm -- and took power lines down with them.

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Lynn Bailes and his wife -- who are both hearing-impaired -- spent a fourth night toughing it out.

"No air conditioning, no electricity and we can't get out," Bailes explained to CBS News.

They can't get out because a giant red oak has fallen on a power line and blocked the only way out for a dozen families on the cul-de-sac. It also uprooted a water main and cut off the water supply. Several elderly are among the marooned, including Bailes' next door neighbors and a lady who lives across the street.

"I tried to say that to (power company) Pepco -- also thinking that might get us a little bit quicker service -- but it hasn't helped, not yet. So we're just trapped," Bailes said.

"Well trees come down and destroy the infrastructure, and that's exactly what's going to happen," Tom Graham, regional president for Pepco, told CBS News. "You have to look at this as a catastrophic event"

The Bailes say the catastrophe has brought out the best in neighbors who are pulling together to help each other.

"We have met more neighbors this past week than the eight years we've been here," Bailes said.

It will be Friday before the lights come back on for most affected Pepco customers. Pepco normally has about 200 workers in the field. Right now, they have about 2,000 people on the job, many of them contract workers from other states and other utilities helping out in around the clock shifts.

  • Sharyl Attkisson
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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.