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Environment & Energy

Duquesne Light, Red Cross Among Groups Sending Pittsburghers To Help With Irma Damage

Wilfredo Lee
Debris is strewn across a normally busy street in South Beach as Hurricane Irma passes by, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Miami Beach, Fla.

An estimated 6.2 million Florida residents are without power Monday due to powerful winds and flooding related to Hurricane Irma. In response to the devastation, Pittsburgh-based organizations are sending troops to Florida to help with restoration.

More than two dozen Duquesne Light employees have been sent to hurricane-devastated areas to help Florida Power and Light bring electricity back to the state. This was because of the utilities industry's mutual assistance network, which recruits electric companies in other states in the case of a natural disaster.

"The work that our crews will be doing down there is the same work they'd be doing here," Duquesne Light spokesperson Jessica Rock said. "They'll be helping to assess and repair downed power lines, replacing the damaged equipment, and they'll also be setting new utility poles where they've been broken or destroyed."

Rock says it's unclear how long the Pittsburgh crews will be in Florida.

"The length of their stay is unknown at this point, as damage is assessed and repairs are made they'll be down there until power is restored and the utility that requested the assistance releases them," she said. "It could be days, or it could be several weeks, we're not sure."

To provide aid, Southwestern Pennsylvania's Red Cross has sent 12 volunteers to Florida, and plan to send more throughout the week.

According to Red Cross spokesperson Dan Tobin, volunteers will assist local shelters that are housing those displaced by the storm.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Davey Tree said the company, which has three Pittsburgh-area locations, has sent over 500 employees from across the country to work on storm recovery for Hurricane Irma.

(Story updated on Sept. 11, 2017 at 4:34 p.m. to include statement from Davey Tree spokesperson.)