Baseball player Dominic Tardif has had to use his pitching arm to clean up debris after hurricane Irma made landfall in Sarasota, Florida.
It has only been three weeks since the Dieppe, N.B. native moved to the sunshine state to play college ball, and he never expected to experience a hurricane.
He told Global News on Monday that all he’s able to see are debris from the trees around his new home.
“The winds were crazy it had scary sounds we had branches hit the top of the house,” said Tardif, who was born in Halifax.
Tardif says he feels lucky. With the exception of some downed trees and moderate flooding, the storm didn’t do as much damage as expected.
“There has been a lot of power outages so a lot of people are going to lose a lot of food, but that is replaceable,” he said.
But help from way back home is on the way.
A convoy of more than 100 power trucks from New Brunswick are already in Florida making their way to the hardest hit areas.
The companies have been hired by a Florida utility to help restore service to millions of those effected by the storm.
Cell service is spotty all over Florida and Amy Jagoe, a spokesperson for E & E Power Line Ltd., says she has only had occasional contact with her crew chief in the state.
“He said (the area) resembles a little bit like the ice storm here in New Brunswick minus the ice,” said Jagoe. “Lots of trees down. Poles lines, structural damage everywhere.”
Considering the extent of the damage to Florida’s power grid, she expects her crews will be there for weeks — maybe even months.
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The daunting task of restoring service is being made even more difficult given that some of her crews are struggling to find gas.
“Trucks have been lined up for lines waiting to get fuel so that is their biggest challenge right now is the fuel situation,” she said.
Meanwhile back in Sarasota, Tardif’s heart breaks for those who have lost their lives, their homes and for those living in the path of the devastating storm surges conjured up by Irma.
He said he is grateful that in his neighborhood they escaped the worst of it.
“I am glad everyone is safe I have not heard of any fatalities so that is the number one thing,” said Tardif.