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Local Medina County News

Local crew backs up power restoration efforts in North Carolina

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    Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative is sending five linemen and four vehicles, including this digger-derrick, to North Carolina to help restore power to areas in North Carolina where Hurricane Florence hits.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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23555869

Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative is sending five linemen and four vehicles, including this digger-derrick, to North Carolina to help restore power to areas in North Carolina where Hurricane Florence hits.

PHOTO PROVIDED Enlarge

Hurricane Florence is battering North Carolina, and five linemen from the Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative are on their way to North Carolina to help in any way they can. The crew will help restore power and whatever else is needed, said Brian E. Barr, spokesman for the electric cooperative.

“They are encouraging everyone to get out (of the area),” Barr said. “And here we are sending our guys in.”

Between 20 and 30 inches of rain is predicted to fall in parts of North and South Carolina. It could cause significant damage, as well as knock out power across the region.

Barr said he’s not worried about sending his crew into the storm area.

“These guys are professionals,” he said. “They are well-trained. Their training should keep them safe.”

Barr said the crew left Friday morning with a bucket truck, digger derrick, pole trailer and a pick-up truck. They were headed to Wytheville, Va., to get further instructions and are scheduled to begin assisting South River Electric Membership Corporation in Dunn, N.C.

South River, an electric cooperative located about 40 miles south of Raleigh, N.C., reported 5,000 of its members were without power, as of Friday.

It suspended restoral efforts due to safety concerns.

As soon as conditions allow, crews will assess the damage and begin restoration, Barr said.

“We’ll be doing any kind of repair that’s needed to help that local co-op,” he said. “We’ll see what kind of damage they have when they get down there.”

Nearly 200 additional line personnel from Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois are bringing 154 vehicles to assist South River. Additionally, 68 tree experts from Louisiana will be supporting the cooperative. South River has an in-field workforce of 66, including contractors.

Ohio’s mutual aid response is organized through the Ohio Electric Cooperatives Safety and Loss Control. A total of 54 line workers from 11 Ohio electric cooperatives left Friday morning to assist South River and Lumbee River Electric Membership Cooperative in eastern North Carolina.

Barr said it’s not uncommon for many co-ops around the county to provide mutual aid to other co-ops in need. Barr said LMRE crews go when needed in large storms year round.

He said he couldn’t provide any personal information on the five linemen going to North Carolina for safety and security reasons.

Barr said the crew was expected to be on the road for a week to 10 days.

“We’ll see how it plays out when they get there,” he said.

LMRE Cooperative, Inc., of Wellington, serves approximately 16,300 consumers over 1,535 miles of power lines in Medina, Lorain, Ashland, Huron and Wayne counties.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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