LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As Hurricane Irma was making landfall in the Florida Keys Sunday morning, electric line workers from the Davis H. Elliot Company were packing up at the company's Lexington headquarters, preparing to deploy to the Sunshine State.
By the start of Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people in south Florida had already lost power from forceful outer bands of the storm. FEMA administrators say this could be the largest power loss America has ever seen, with estimates reaching in the millions.
It's a big job ahead for Florida power crews, and they can't do it alone.
Ryan Little is a division manager for Davis H. Elliot.
"It's not just AC that we got to get back on, there's a lot of elderly people that live in Florida, where they retire and move there, and they have a lot of machines that help maintain their conditions," said Little.
The company sent 100 lineman to Florida on Thursday. On Sunday, 70 more prepared for their 2-day drive to Tampa.
"They'll be working seven days a week, and they'll be putting in some really long hours," said Little. "With as much water damage as the Florida coast is going to get, it's very well possible that these men could be there four to six weeks."
While crews are heading to Florida, more than 500 others are still in Texas, helping with Harvey relief.
"We have a really great group of guys that do work safe," said Little. "They are skilled in this profession, and they're always willing to go above and beyond."
Managers at the Elliot Company say 70 lineman will be assigned to the Florida Keys once they can safely make it down to begin work.