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Tallahassee Crews Join Others In Heading To Irma-Affected Cities In Need Of Help

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City of Tallahassee Twitter

After restoring power to most local residents, Tallahassee Electric Crews are headed out of the Capital City to assist other places’ recovery.

By early Thursday morning, 99 percent of Tallahassee electric customers had their power back. And, throughout the week, several customers were already showing their appreciation to the crews working round the clock to make that happen.

“I just want you to know that these guys were out here, bright and early this morning, they’ve been at it, since about 8, maybe even before,” said one female resident, speaking to a lineman. “And, we just now have power. And, it was hard because they had to replace a pole that had broken. So, it wasn’t easy. And, they’ve been awesome, and just as friendly as can be. So, thank you.”

“Glad we could do it,” the lineman replied.

During the storm, 50 percent of Tallahassee electric customers had lost power. But, officials say they were able restore power more quickly, thanks to the aid of crews from Louisiana, Ohio, and Nebraska.

“All in all, Lincoln, Nebraska is ready to power up Tallahassee,” said Andrew Urkoski, a lineman with an Electric crew out of Nebraska.

Urkoski and other lineman made the trek to Tallahassee earlier this week.

“We made the trip over the course of three days,” he added. “We came out here. It’s a public power. So, everyone is here to help each other. We do what we can. We’re from Lincoln, Nebraska. Everything is good in Nebraska, and so we do what we can to come here and turn the lights on in Florida.”

And, Tallahassee Electric Utility Linemen, like Ashton Baggett, say they’re grateful for the mutual aid, and it’s time to pay it forward to the people of Gainesville.

“We’re here getting prepared to go help out the great city of Gainesville,” he said. “We’re the city of Tallahassee. We help those in need. We’re good at what we do. Gainesville, help is on the way!”

Tallahassee City Manager Rick Fernandez says local crews will not only be heading to Gainesville, they’ll also join others in helping other cities—which still have thousands without power.

“Our water and sewer crews are already on their way to Daytona Beach,” he said. “And, our electric crews and our mutual aid partners that came to see us from Nebraska, Ohio, and Lafayette, Louisiana, we don’t know exactly where they’re going to go. But, based on our mutual aid agreements, they can go help FPL, because as you know, they have received a lot of damage and they’re having trouble restoring the service.”

Meanwhile, local crews have been working this week to clear debris in the area. Officials are also asking residents to get storm debris to the curb, as the cleanup heads into next week.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.