Local News

Workers Continue Undoing Bonnie's Damage

Posted August 30, 1998

— While Hurricane Bonnie missed the Triangle area, hundreds of workers are still on the Outer Banks trying to undo her damage.

They seem to appear from everywhere after a hurricane blows through. Hundreds of utility workers that have to drive hundreds of miles to get here.

"All these fellows here have been out of town for a couple a weeks. You've got to live out of your suitcase just to help these people out," explained Virginia contractor Norman Fletcher.

In this case, heavy winds blew through this section of Currituck County so hard they ripped the roof off a mobile home. Flying debris from the home blew a transformer out back. That's where these workers come in. They're fighting the emotion of leaving their families behind while they help someone they've never even met.

"Oh its just terrible. You miss your wife, your kids, but they're pulling for you at home. We're from Roanoke, VA, and we're down here helping these people out," said equipment operator Jeff Johnson.

Another difficulty is the fact that the workers can't do their job the way they normally do. Their huge trucks would easily sink in the muddy conditions they're dealing with right now, so jobs that would normally be done by huge machines are being done by hand instead. "We're working long hour, and as you can see, we are working in the swamp," Johnson said.

They admit that road trips are part of the job. Until they finish, they'll continue to put in long hours knowing it could be weeks before they go home again.

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