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N.B. power crews headed to Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma

Trucks with Gagnon Line Construction were seen by Global News as they traveled towards Orlando on September 11, 2017.
Trucks with Gagnon Line Construction were seen by Global News as they traveled towards Orlando on September 11, 2017. Mark Blanchard/Global News

Dozens of line crews from New Brunswick are making their way towards Florida ahead of the damage expected to be caused by Hurricane Irma.

The Category 5 storm, which has already killed at least 10 people, is barreling through the Caribbean and is expected to hit south Florida this weekend.

LIVE UPDATES: Tracking Hurricane Irma’s path

Crews in New Brunswick were among those that received a call to assist Florida utilities, as part of a mutual aid network.

K-Line Construction Ltd., based just outside Woodstock, N.B., sent 21 trucks and 49 workers on Wednesday evening. The employees include linemen, mechanics, supervisors and safety managers.

 

“When these big storms come on, the utilities that are going to be affected by it have conference calls and they discuss who has what resources and connections to what contractors,” said Courtney Keenan, a manager at K-Line Construction Ltd.

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Keenan says it isn’t unusual for their company to send crews to the U.S., but more commonly to the New England states.

“The reason we’re needed so bad this time is that Harvey just hit Texas and all the crews in the southern states are all in Texas.”

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He estimates it will take his crews two and a half days to reach Georgia, where the workers will be stationed until the storm passes. At that point, the crews will be moved to the most heavily damaged areas.

K-Line Construction Ltd in Woodstock, N.B. is sending 21 crews down to the state of Georgia in anticipation of Hurricane Irma damage in the area.
K-Line Construction Ltd in Woodstock, N.B. is sending 21 crews down to the state of Georgia in anticipation of Hurricane Irma damage in the area. K-Line Construction Ltd

READ MORE: Hurricane Irma: These photos reveal the destruction left in monster storm’s wake

The length of their stay will depend on how much damage there is to power lines.

“You can never predict it. Sometimes, you get turned around as soon as you get there. When we went to Hurricane Sandy in New York, we were there for 30 days,” Keenan said.

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Keenan estimates 350 New Brunswickers are headed to Florida as part of the mutual aid network and that a couple thousand out-of-state crews in total will be on site.

WATCH: Hurricane Irma leaves a trial of destruction in the Caribbean 

Hurricane Irma leaves a trial of destruction in the Caribbean
Hurricane Irma leaves a trial of destruction in the Caribbean