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NE Washington Resident Beats Heat With Home Made Air Conditioner

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By Elliott Francis

In one northeast D.C. neighborhood Tuesday, approximately three dozen Pepco customers woke up with no electricity. As temperatures began to rise, some found relief at neighborhood cooling centers, and at least one resident crafted a creative solution to beat the heat.

Annie Powell lives with her brother-in-law and three grandchildren in this attractive walk-up apartment on 12th street NE. The power's been out since Monday night.

It's noon on Tuesday and while a small army of Pepco techs and trucks down the street try to connect the dots, Annie has taken the initiative.

"...Ya put the block of ice there and turn the fan on," she laughs. "You feel it in here? Well, then let ever'body know, ya hear?"

She's managed to cobble out a makeshift air conditioner in her living room. Annie says the fan is hooked up to a neighbors house that has power. The 12-foot square block of ice sitting in a small plastic tub in front of the fan comes from an ice house over on Florida Avenue.

It 'ain't' central air, but for the space in her home, it works and she says it's goes back to her childhood.

"I went back to the ole' roots, and I went back to the country," she says. "Them country people wold sit up under the tree, an git them a block 'o ice, and put in the tub, 'n put the fan on it and you thought you had air condition."

Annie says she only hopes the power's back on before her block of ice melts.

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