Local News

NC Workers Restore Power in Ice Covered Maine

Posted January 17, 1998 12:00 a.m. EST

— Some of them had never been on a plane. Some of them had never been in a major snow storm. But relief workers from North Carolina braved bad weather and overcame fears to help people in New England stranded by a severe ice storm.

Thousands of people there are still without power. WRAL'sAmanda Lambjoined them on their mission.

The C-17 carrying relief crews from North Carolina were met by blustery conditions in Brunswick, Maine. But workers who came say it's clear help is needed here.

"We need to help each other," says Billy Melton. "A lot of people helped us after Hurricane Fran. We just want to restore their power."

Harry Hammond admits he's never seen conditions like that in Maine down in North Carolina. Hammond and his co-workers have never been that far north, but they feel they can handle it.

It's 5:15 in the morning. The wind is blowing. It's snowing. It's 10 degrees, and it looks like the relief crews have a big job ahead of them.

The military donated planes and manpower to help move crews and equipment to Maine. The first day, there were 210,000 customers without power.

Workers were briefed by members of the Central Maine Power Company who have worked around the clock to get customers back on line.

"It;s so cold, pipes are starting to freeze," says Nick Vermett of CMPC. "This has been going on for eight days."

North Carolina workers hope they can make the need less critical. There are 16 local power crews and 30 tree removal crews in Maine. They say they will stay there until they get the job done.