Indiana linemen heading south to help with Hurricane Irma relief - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana linemen heading south to help with Hurricane Irma relief

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Utility trucks heading to respond to Hurricane Irma. Utility trucks heading to respond to Hurricane Irma.
Utility trucks heading to respond to Hurricane Irma. Utility trucks heading to respond to Hurricane Irma.

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- Millions of people are without power in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and utility crews from Indiana are heading south to help. 

"The poles are literally sucked out of the ground, and they just basically are gone,” said David Vince, General Manager of the Clark County REMC.

Hurricane Irma's high winds and heavy rain knocked out power lines across the southeast, leaving an estimated six million residents without the electricity they so desperately need. 

"People's lives are turned upside down for a long time,” said Chuck Tiemann with Indiana Electric Cooperatives.

Dozens of utility trucks arrived in Sellersburg on Tuesday, stocked up with supplies to hit the road. In total, more than 100 linemen from various electricity cooperatives in Indiana and Michigan are heading down to Georgia to respond. 

"The dire need right now is you have to look at the hospitals. You have to get those back on,” Vince said. “And you also have to get to the public services like the police stations and the fire stations." 

The crews will be restoring power lines and, in some cases, entire grids of electricity. 

"With the devastation that's down there right now, you're not just repairing the lines," Vince said. "You're basically repairing, putting together a whole new system."

When they got the call, the local linemen were prepared to respond. For many, it's returning a favor they haven't forgotten. 

"When we needed help back in 2012 when the tornado hit Henryville, we got a call out, and they came to help us,” Vince said. 

The linemen will head into dangerous conditions to lend a helping hand. 

"This is just in our blood, and linemen are unique people," Tiemann said. "They're a rare breed."

The crews work in two week shifts until power is restored in the region. 

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