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Thousands of utility workers head to Florida, ready for Hurricane Ian relief

By Lacey Beasley

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    ROBERTSDALE, Alabama (WALA) — After Hurricane Ian passes, Florida will need a lot of help. Tuesday, thousands of utility workers were anxiously waiting on the call to move in.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, and we’re here to help and do whatever we can and make sure everything is cleared out,” said Jordan Buentello.

Buentello was with BDG Tree Services out of Beaumont, Texas. So far, his company travelled over 400 miles with hundreds more to go, heading towards Orlando.

He said his team will be stationed there for the indefinite future.

“It will be a minimum of three weeks,” said Buentello. “It could last anywhere between three weeks to six weeks, is what they said. It all depends how bad it hits and what category.”

Jason Salacar with Transform Power Company out of Monahans, Texas said the same.

“It could be weeks,” said Salacar. “It could be months. We don’t know yet. We must see the devastation of it and how much power is done.”

Salacar already drove over 1,000 miles just to get to Baldwin County, and his company was also going into what is expected to be some of the hardest hit places.

“There’s a lot of water there and they have to clear the roads before we can even set poles to bring energy back,” said Salacar.

Whereas some from Tampa aren’t evacuating but heading back to board up.

Edwin Acosta had his truck filled with sheets of plywood and a generator, expecting the worst but hoping for the best.

“My family is there, and I have to go help my wife and cover the windows,” said Acosta.

Those working on the front lines had a message of encouragement.

“Right now is not the time to be selfish,” said Buentello. “You always need to act as one, be a community. Help whenever you can, a helping hand, a pat on the back, words of wisdom, a face, a prayer, anything like that can go a long way.”

About 2.5 million Floridians are under evacuation orders.

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