Power crews from N.B. arrive in Orlando to assist with Irma restoration efforts
Published Monday, September 11, 2017 7:12PM ADT
Among the hundreds of power companies asked to help restore power to millions of residents in southern Florida is New Brunswick’s K-Line Construction.
Forty-nine workers have arrived in Orlando and will soon be heading to St. Petersburg.
"A lot of our guys, they all would have raised their hand to go down there for this,” says Courtney Keenan of K-Line Construction. “Everybody enjoys it.”
Keenan says it's tough to say where restoration work will begin, as some power stations are still under five feet of water.
"There has been a curfew on people being on the road up until mid-morning or so,” says Mark Keenan, who has already arrived in Orlando. “It would not have been safe to be doing any work anyway because of the high winds and heavy rain."
Courtney Keenan says once work begins, it could take up to 40 days before all power is restored. He says crews will be on their feet for 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It's long, hard days,” says Courtney Keenan. “A lot of these are retirees from NB Power and Nova Scotia Power, so they are not the young guys that are going to do this."
"We're expecting broken poles, but you have no idea how many that would be until you're actually there,” says Mark Kennan. “There certainly will be a number of trees through the lines.”
Nova Scotia Power and its parent company Emera are also sending utility crews to Florida to assist with major restoration efforts and relieve exhausted workers. Twenty-three Nova Scotia Power team members will fly to Florida on Tuesday to support the Tampa Electric team.
“We've told our team members to be prepared to be there for two weeks,” says Tiffany Chase, spokesperson for Nova Scotia Power. “We know that there has been significant damage to the power system in Tampa Bay, and we want to help our sister company to get the power back on as quickly and safely as possible for their customers.”
Samaritan’s Purse has sent a tractor trailer loaded with supplies to Florida from Moncton. The team left Friday to clean up flooded and wind-damaged homes, and estimates they could remain in the states for weeks, possibly months.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.