The people of Farmingdale left a memorable impression on a crew of electrical workers from Burbank, CA.
Apparently, the feeling is mutual.
Ten electrical linemen from the Burbank Water and Power (BWP), cold and sore, returned home from Long Island in time for Thanksgiving after restoring power to hundreds of area residents. One of the crews were so impressed with the people of Farmingdale that they produced a video about their experiences.
“I was so moved to see row after row of utility crews from across the United States there to help.” said Andrew Harmon, Line Mechanic Supervisor for BWP who is the voice of the video (see it attached to this article.) “You could see it in their eyes, people were so happy to see us and we were proud to be there to help.”
John and Lucy Tarnell of Farmingdale wrote a letter of thanks after the crew restored their power twice; the second time occurred after a transformer exploded nearby. The Tarnells alerted the crew who had their power back in a matter of hours.
"They were not only professional but were also a group of real nice guys," the Tarnells wrote. "You are lucky to have them in your employ."
The video includes clips of the crew bunking with members of the Farmingdale Fire Department, which played host to the crew and others. It shows their linemen working atop power poles high above Farmingdale.
It also addresses something Long Islanders were complaining about: A lack of information from the Long Island Power Authority.
"When we responded they hadn't heard from their utility company," Harmon said in the video. "People were pretty desperate. When we got there they hadn't heard anything. I was surprised that we were eight days in and we were pretty much the first responders."
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The crew -- and their five trucks -- were flown by military transports from California to JFK Airport. The group arrived at a staging area in Bethpage eight days after the storm hit, said Joe Flores, a spokesman for BWP. Initial assessments had been performed by other crews.
The Burbank team went right to work but was forced to endure the nor'easter that struck later that week. To Californians, the weather posed an adjustment. One crew member grabbed gloves and hooded sweaters from a local hardware store and the team went back to work.
There were also a bit of regional humor:
"We heard of the New York reputation, how they're kind of tough people," said Harmon. "But they couldn't have treated us better. They offer you coffee when they put your power back on. I felt privileged for being here. It was the highlight of my career."
Harmon may have even picked up a bit of the local accent: He pronounced it "cawfee."
“We could not be more proud of our skilled and committed employees who volunteered for this assignment,” says Jorge Somoano, Burbank’s Assistant General Manager of Electrical Operations.