Fayette County

Kentucky fire, power crews head south to help fight Hurricane Matthew

Lexington’s fire department is sending people to the area hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Lexington’s fire department is sending people to the area hit by Hurricane Matthew. cbertram@herald-leader.com

Crews from Lexington’s fire department and Kentucky-based utility companies are heading south to help with power outages and other destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Three Lexington fire employees were joining an Ohio team and were expected to be in Lakeland, Fla., on Friday, Battalion Chief Joe Best said.

Kentucky Emergency Management had received a request to send a nine-person team to Tallahassee to work in the state’s emergency operations center, Kentucky Emergency Management spokesman Buddy Rogers said. But later Florida officials called and said the Kentucky team was no longer needed. Rogers said that teamis now being sent to Columbia, S.C., to help coordinate emergency operations there.

More than 500,000 homes and businesses in Florida alone did not have power early Friday.

More than 80 employees from The Kentucky Electric Cooperative left early Friday for South Carolina and Florida.

Other crews could be sent south if needed, said Robert Thornton, a member of the cooperative’s safety and loss prevention team.

“Georgia has not pre-staged crews at this time, but if something happens on the coast, other Kentucky crews could potentially be dispatched as well,” Thornton said.

Crews from Kentucky Utilities and LG&E left earlier this week to assist Florida Power and Light. More than 140 people in crews from Lexington, Louisville, Mount Sterling and Richmond were called in to help, according to a news release from Kentucky Utilities.

The company participates in a nationwide mutual assistance organization in which utility companies assist other utilities in times of natural disaster.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall