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Missouri electric crews return from hurricane duty

Electric crews from Kansas City and across the state traveled to South Carolina to help restore  power to the state. Now, one hundred line workers are heading back leaving about 65 workers to continue their work there.

Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives spokesman Jim McCarty says the remaining workers are stationed in Kingstree and Darlington.

He also notes a tanker truck from Jefferson City-based Central Electric Power Cooperative has delivered diesel fuel to cooperatives in both South and North Carolina.

“They were able to fill trucks up in South Carolina and before crews came home there, there was a need for the remaining fuel in North Carolina so it was dispatched north,” McCarty says.

McCarty says many of the Missouri crews have had to use boats to get to impacted areas in South Carolina.

He says the workers are focusing on individual and smaller outages, which is time-consuming.

“It’s the kind of work they do everyday after a storm here in Missouri, however these guys traded their bucket trucks in some cases for boats and had to float into swampy areas and areas that had been flooded by the storm,” says McCarty.

Crews also have to be on the lookout for alligators and snakes.

CNN reports Florence has killed 32 people and has trapped hundreds more. The hurricane had been expected to hit as a Cat 4 but came ashore as a Cat 1. The biggest problem has not been wind but flooding.

South Carolina residents are expressing their appreciation of the Missouri line workers who’ve traveled there.

McCarty tells Missourinet crews from the Kearney-based Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative in the Kansas City area also received a pleasant surprise, when they stopped to eat lunch in Tennessee on their way to South Carolina.

“When they got finished and went to pay their bill, they were told that people around them recognized they were linemen, that they were heading into the hurricane zone and passed the hat and paid for their lunch,” McCarty says.