BALTIMORE (WJZ)– BGE trucks began staging well before dawn in Howard County Thursday to head for Florida.
Trucks were loaded with equipment to get power back on, and supplies to keep the crews going in tropical heat and humidity.
“90-95 degree temperatures, seeing downed wires, damage to equipment, for instance, blown transformers,” said BGE spokesman Justin Mulcahy.
Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions. Without electricity, there is only so much people can do to recover.
“We have to get the electric and the water and everything else back,” one man said.
The loss of power is also costing lives. Eight nursing home patients have died, and many others are hospitalized, after air conditioning units stopped working. Some patients reportedly had body temperatures of 106 degrees.
“Most of the patients have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat related issues,” a doctor said.
It has upped the urgency to make repairs, which an earlier group of BGE crews has been doing the past few days. With more now rolling out, a total of 350 employees and subcontractors from Maryland join thousands of others, from states in the East, Midwest and South, to get lights and air conditioning back on.
“This is what utilities across the country do, quite frankly, with the mutual assistance networks. They provide assistance to us in times of need, and now we’re reciprocating that,” Mulcahy said.
BGE says crews will likely be in Florida for two weeks.