Delaware Valley utility crews head south ahead of Dorian's arrival

NEWARK, Del. (KYW Newsradio) — Power crews from the greater Philadelphia region are on the move to help those in Florida if the power goes out when Hurricane Dorian hits.

More than 30 workers from Delmarva Power and Atlantic City Electric prepared to take the long drive south to Florida Friday morning with a couple dozen utility trucks.

They left the Delmarva complex in Newark, Delaware around 9:30 a.m., following a group of PECO workers who left Thursday.

.@DelmarvaConnect crews are getting ready to head down to Florida for when #HurricaneDorian hits and the power goes out. @ACElecConnect teams are part of this effort too. @PECOconnect crews left yesterday. @KYWNewsradio

— Tim Jimenez (@TimJRadio) August 30, 2019

"All the trucks are loaded with water, Gatorade and spare tires for the trucks," said lineman Brian Timmons, who is making his first work trip to take on hurricane damage. "They’re even bringing down a diesel fuel truck for us so we can fuel up if case gas stations are down."

Larry Lematrie, PECO’s manager of transmission, said it’s a cliche, but it's true: They’re hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

“Right now the plan would be to stay in northern Florida, let the hurricane hit, assess damage, and move us into the damaged area to repair,” he said. “You’re expecting a lot of trees down, property damage through flying debris and different things. A lot of downed wires, poles things like that. Then we move into the area and repair.”

During Hurricane Irma in 2017, Lematrie said some of his crews spent about 15 days in the Sunshine State, taking time away from their families to help those in need.

But Lenaitre remembered seeing how grateful people were when they finally get power after days or weeks off the grid, which makes their hard work pay off.

The Dorian-bound crews are prepared to spend at least a week in Florida to help restore power. Workers like Timmons didn’t hesitate to offer his time to hurricane relief because he said the work needs to be done.

"You can’t say no sometimes to help out other people," he said, "so that’s what we’re gonna do, and the family understands."

Steve Mangini is returning to Florida for the second time, following Hurricane Irma two years ago. He agreed that seeing people happy and grateful makes it all worth it.

"Sometimes people need help more than you need to be out partying with your family," he added.