Linemen from California work to restore power in South Florida

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - The lack of power has many people on edge, but workers from across the country are working here in South Florida to restore electricity.

“We won’t stop until it’s fixed," said Jose Tirado, a foreman for Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

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A group of linemen from PG&E in California were out along Federal Highway just south of Hobe Sound for hours Wednesday working in the heat to get some large power poles upright again for FPL.

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“For us to have to come this great distance to come help, it gives me a lot of pride," Tirado said.

More than 100 PG&E workers left their families in California to fly to Florida prior to Hurricane Irma.

“We were here ready to go when it was time," Tirado said.

This was Tirado’s first hurricane, but not his first time handling a large-scale power outage.

“California had a lot of fires," he said. "We’ve done a whole bunch of fire work lately. We’re used to working long days, sometimes long nights, sometimes we work 36 hours straight.”

Tirado said conditions in South Florida are tough to work in right now.

“Us being from California in particular, it’s a difficult transition with the humidity," he said.

However, he said he's happy to do it.

"We work hard every day," he said. "It’s a tough job. Linemen take a lot of pride in their work."

He wants people to know they are working tirelessly to get their lights, air conditioning and refrigerators back on.

"People don’t understand how much we have to do to get things done," he said. "You drive by. You see crews there. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like we’re doing anything. We’re waiting to get permission to get on the lines or sometimes we just have to stand down and take five minutes to get a drink of water or eat something. Sometimes we don’t eat all day."

PG&E linemen are working 16-hour days with eight hours off right now.

They got here before the storm and they don’t know exactly when they’ll be going home yet, Tirado said.

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