LONG ISLAND, N.Y. -- Arizona Public Safety crews are teaming up with New York utility workers to help restore power to more than 1 million still without electricity after Superstorm Sandy.
More than 30 APS workers from all over Arizona arrived Friday in Long Island. After a day of logistics, they picked up supplies at a make-shift supply depot at a small airfield just north of Westhampton Beach. Then they got to work on the north shore, just east of Mt. Sinai Harbor.
"First removing trees from long lines, sometimes we have lines in the middle of the road," Steven Gotfried with Arizona Public Safety told 3TV via SKYPE. "Then what we're doing is putting down new poles if needed, and then stringing wire from pole to pole."
Workers are using a different type of wire than there used to in Arizona. They are also not used to the terrain or the colder temperatures.
"We went to Dick Sporting Goods and bought thermal underwear this morning, extra gloves, extra hats, and hot Thermos bottles so we could keep warm while we work here," Gotfried said.
A Nor'easter is headed towards the region, bringing strong winds, rain, and a drop in temperatures. APS and other utility crews are working as fast but as safely as possible to get power restored to the 1.3 million people still in the dark. They are working 16-hour days with eight hours off. Residents in the area are grateful for their hard work.
"A gentleman with his two daughters came and brought us donuts," Gotfried said. "Another woman ran to the store and got hot coffee, which was nice with days getting shorter and colder."
The APS crews plan to stay until after the Nor'easter hits, until they are no longer needed.
"There's a common thread here to help people," Gotfried said. "This is a major national disaster, really to the likes that this area has never seen. To be able to come out and help them, these people who have been very gracious is a good feeling about it. It's an experience that we'll never forget."