In Buffalo, blame and mounting criticism over storm response

gentlemen.Polonkaz admits controversy wednesday on twitter“As I said earlier today in response to whether the driving ban should have been implemented earlier, I don’t know if it will change anything, but it is my decision and I take full responsibility,” he wrote. “As Kennedy said, ‘Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan.’ “

More than a dozen people killed in the storm were found outside. Other deaths were attributed to delays by first responders. Some people are frozen at home. Some people died in their cars. Some suffered cardiac arrest while trying to shovel snow or use a snow blower. Officials said they expected the death toll to rise as more victims were found and identified.

Hundreds of National Guard soldiers were dispersed in the area on Wednesday. Officials said their mission has largely shifted from rescue operations to inspections of homes without power and extensive street snow removal.

As temperatures rose, a crew of four in about 25 Humvees checked some of the hundreds of homes that remained without power, officials said. Soldiers armed with shovels helped utilities gain easy access to repair downed lines.

“Anywhere there’s a power outage, we’ll send someone out to check,” said Eric Durr, director of public affairs for the New York State Department of Military and Naval Affairs.

About 14 green and tan Humvees, along with larger supply and security trucks, lined up outside the Connecticut Street Armory north of downtown Buffalo. Downtown streets were largely cleared, with large piles of snow pushed to the side of the road.

Swarms of front loaders made significant inroads through residential neighborhoods Tuesday through Wednesday, in some cases trailed by state trooper vehicles.

Just before midnight Tuesday, several residents stood in front of their homes cheering and waving, shovels in hand, as a lone loader rolled down a side street, pushing piles of snow to the side of the road, blazing a trail. Lane dug out their vehicle that had been trapped in a snow-covered catacomb for nearly five days.

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