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O’Malley visits areas damaged by Irene

HOLLYWOOD — Gov. Martin O’Malley toured Maryland counties Tuesday to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Irene, while hundreds of thousands of utility customers in the Mid-Atlantic region remain without power.

O’Malley visited a community in Hollywood in the southern part of the state, where trees had fallen on top of homes and were strewn across lawns. While there, he introduced the state’s insurance commissioner to residents whose homes had been damaged.

“It’s like a giant came walking through here and just pushed down oak trees as if they were blades of grass,” O’Malley said.

Kathy Jeffries greeted the governor outside her home, one of many that had been damaged by fallen trees.

“It’s been a disaster,” Jeffries said. “There’s property damage all over the place.”

In the Mid-Atlantic region, utility companies said Tuesday afternoon that about 270,000 were still without power due to Irene. Schools in Anne Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties also remain closed.

Officials say two people in Maryland, two people in Delaware and a teenage girl from northern Virginia have died as a result of the hurricane.

Howard County officials say 48-year-old Won Koo Sung died at his Ellicott City home from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials say the home had lost power during Irene, and a generator was found in the garage. In Queen Anne’s County, 85-year-old Anne Bell was killed when a tree knocked a chimney through the glass roof of the sunroom where she was sitting.

In Delaware, police say two men who decided to sprint through Hurricane Irene at the peak of the storm were found dead in a northern Delaware town. The bodies of Christopher Valentine, 25, of Hockessin, and his friend Jean Baptista, 25, of Clark, N.J., were found a day after Valentine’s mother reported him missing.

A 15-year-old from Manassas Park, Va., Katherine Morales Cruz, also died in North Carolina in a two-car collision at an intersection where Irene had knocked out power to the traffic lights.