EMC sends crew to Kentucky
Snapping Shoals is helping area recover from ice storm

COVINGTON - Snapping Shoals EMC has sent eight crew members to Winchester, Ky., to help restore power after an ice storm hit the area Wednesday.

The crew arrived Thursday and intends to stay for two weeks, Snapping Shoals Spokeswoman Leigh-Anne Burgess said.

"They're just prepared to handle the worst," she said.

More than 1 million customers remained without power Thursday in the wake of the winter storm that slammed the country from Texas to Maine, the Associated Press reported. Federal help was promised to the two states hit hardest - Kentucky and Arkansas. More than 500,000 customers were affected in Kentucky alone.

Many of the people had no heat and no working phone service to call for help.

The snapping of utility lines cut off phone service and even e-mail, said Kentucky State Police Sgt. David Jude, commander of media relations. Even cell phone service was being disrupted, Jude said.

It could take a week or more for utility operators in Kentucky and Arkansas to restore power to everyone.

Work crews and the National Guard are working around the clock to resurrect power lines downed by thick ice.

The Snapping Shoals crew also brought along five vehicles and are prepared to do "whatever the EMC there needs them to do," Burgess said. The men are assisting Clark Energy.

If they're needed, the Snapping Shoals crew will stay on longer than the planned two weeks, or another crew will be sent to take over, Burgess said.

There are 12 co-ops, including Snapping Shoals, in Kentucky.

"There's an unwritten agreement that says if they need help, we help them, and if we need help, they help us," she said.

During the Georgia blizzard of 1993, crews from Kentucky came to the state's assistance.

"They were the only state that was able to get here. It's nice to return that favor," Burgess said.

Crew members who are braving the ice in Kentucky are Don Ritchey, crew foreman; Bobby Fincher, crew leader; Melvin Brake, lead lineman; Jay Vogt, lineman; Byron Burke, lineman; Jason Powell, equipment operator; Michael Cronan, apprentice lineman; and Jeremy Fuller, apprentice lineman.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.