Chance Encounter Saves Family From Dangerous Cold

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — A chance encounter at a middle school science fair saved a Portsmouth family from dangerous cold temperatures Thursday night. However, a widespread community response to a Facebook post might have had the same results.

High winds knocked down electrical lines on Tallman Avenue near Hathaway Elementary School Thursday afternoon. While the Portsmouth Fire Department responded to the incident, electrical power was cut off to a nearby residence.

A Portsmouth resident contacted Scott Sullivan, Portsmouth’s school resource officer, who put out the following call on Facebook Thursday afternoon. According to Sullivan, more than 12 local electricians responded to his call offering help. 

However, it would be a chance encounter that really saved the Portsmouth family from freezing, single-digit temperatures. 

Sullivan attended the Portsmouth Middle School’s Science Fair Thursday afternoon. At the science fair, Sullivan ran into fellow Portsmouth resident, Jane Burns Roggero, who knew of an electrician who might help. 

“I happen to be at the middle school for the science fair,” Roggero said. “I called my husband, who is a contractor and asked him to call the electrician that he often uses. The electrician is from Portsmouth, too. He dropped everything and headed right out there.” 

The family is unaware of what happened. Sullivan said the response from the community is what this holiday season is all about. 

“That this many people stepped up and they didn’t know who it was, is what Christmas and this community is all about,” he said. 

The power is now back on at the Portsmouth family’s home thanks to this electrician’s quick response.

Single-digit temperatures and more high winds are expected to hit the region Thursday night

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