Capital Region sending help to Irma victims

September 12, 2017 01:36 PM

NEW BALTIMORE - Teams from National Grid left from the Capital Region, Syracuse, Buffalo and Boston Tuesday morning -- all headed to Florida. They are being called in for mutual aid to restore power after Hurricane Irma. There is also a team from the local Red Cross office.

It was a lighter morning at the Albany International Airport's counters. Fewer flights to Florida after Hurricane Irma pushed through. However, among those still headed south are a member of the Red Cross team from the Capital Region.

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"We expect that this is going to go on for quite some time and we'll move beyond the immediate sheltering to sort of helping with more long-term recovery needs," said Kimmy Venter with the American Red Cross.

Between Harvey and Irma, our area has sent over 60 people either ahead of or in reaction to the southern storms.

"People may end up moving to other parts of the state of Florida and we're also keeping an eye on Georgia and the Carolinas just to see where the Red Cross is needed," said Venter.

At the New Baltimore Rest Area on Tuesday morning, National Grid crews gathered from around the region and got some last minute words of encouragement before heading down to react to this storm."

In the huddle, the number one priority is safety and they are cautioned to pace themselves.

"I'm always willing to go and help," said Mike Peters.

He has been with National Grid for over 30 years. He's leading a team of 40 people from the Capital Region.

"When you flip that switch and you turn their lights back on and the smiling faces, it's a great feeling," he said.

"The crews are going to be doing what they always do really, just restoring power, getting the power back on, helping with putting in new poles, putting in new wire and all that kind of stuff," said Patrick Stella, with National Grid. "It's just that the volume is going to be a lot larger than what they're usually used to."

The drive to Tampa was expected to take 22 hours.


WNYT Staff

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