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City and Talquin Electric crews return home after almost a month of Ida recovery in Louisiana

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tallahassee City Utility crews will return home on Saturday after almost a month working in Houma, Louisiana. Talquin Electric crews worked in Louisiana for more than three weeks.

Heath Gebhart is the Supervisor of Power Delivery; he was part of the second round of City crews. That group of eleven that arrived on September 11th.

“It definitely is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Gebhart said. “This storm will leave a mark for many years on this area.”

The first crew worked primarily on restoring power to the hospital; Gebhart’s crew began work on the industrial buildings, including the shipping ports, and then moved on to the residential homes.

Power in Houma is almost fully restored.

Talquin Electric crews went to Louisiana just days after Ida made landfall, working 16 hour days. The company is part of a multi-state electric utility cooperative, with utility companies helping each other during emergencies.

Dillon Andrews is an Apprentice Lineman with Talquin Electric.

He was part of the first crew Talquin sent to Louisiana; it took the crew 13 hours to drive to St. Francis, due to the traffic of evacuees returning.

That crew had ten members, who were there for two weeks.

“We saw a lot of flooding, a bunch of roots ripped up, siding off houses, lots of broke poles, trees on the road,” Andrews said.

Lance Rivenbart is a First Class Lineman with Talquin Electric.

He was part of the second crew, which worked for seven days in Gonzalez and Livingston, Louisiana. That crew had eight members.

“Everything was wet. You’d see green grass, but it was just water right up underneath it,” Rivenbart said. “Trucks were stuck, you couldn’t get off the road anywhere.”

All of the crews agree; the people of Louisiana were outstanding.

“The best I’ve ever met. They were feeding us lunch and dinner every night,” Andrews said.

“Everybody would bring us food the whole time we were there, and the reactions of people getting their power back on was just great,” Rivenbart said.

“I think everybody needs to take a lesson in humanity from the great people of Louisiana. They have put our needs ahead of their needs,” Gebhart said. “If we ever need assistance in Tallahassee in any way, shape, or form, we have extended family in Louisiana that are more than willing to come help.”

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