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CT National Guard brings additional power to utility line repairs

After building COVID field hospitals and helping test in nursing homes, our neighbors-in-uniform are helping once again.

MILFORD, Conn. — Four teams from the Connecticut National Guard are working side-by-side with utility companies to help restore power to residents across the state. Under 300,000 Eversource and 30,000 United Illuminating customers remain powerless heading into the weekend.

Two teams of eight each went out with Eversource and UI crews to clear debris quicker to allow line crews easier access.

"We are your neighbors. We are really happy to be helping out the residents of Connecticut," said SMSgt. David Frates of the CT National Guard.

The guard came armed with chainsaws and heavy equipment to cut and remove debris restricting access to power lines and neighborhoods. Their work helped utility crews restore power back to thousands of residents on Friday.

"What we really want do is take the burden off of United illuminating so that they can work on those trees that are touching power lines," said SMSgt. Frates.

RELATED: "Hold their feet to the fire" | Gov. Lamont pushes for outage restoration and activates the Connecticut National Guard

The two national guard crews helped United Illuminating in Fairfield and Milford. FOX61 caught up with a unit helping dismantle a pine tree on Lauralton Court in Milford.

"Certainly, having access to this kind of heavy equipment and ability to move debris is really going to help us," said UI Spokesperson Ed Crowder.

Just about 10% of UI customers remain without power. While the help from the guard is appreciated by residents, not everyone is out of the dark.

"They removed the trees but right now we have all the wires blocking our driveways," said Gina Ceneri.

The Ceneri’s have been trapped inside their home on North Rutland Road since Tuesday. Two tress crushed the utility pole and power lines in front of their home. The lines drooping over their exits may be still live making it impossible to get out.

"We call to ask what we could do. We’ve gotten some different answers from different people but we’re not sure," said Ceneri.

Help might not be far off. Four crews helping UI from New Hampshire took a crack at repairs on Wheelers Farms Road just a few streets over. A neighbor says a large pine used the lines like a trampoline destrying four utility poles in the process. They say this is the third time crews have been out to help. Families on North Rutland are hoping to see their first.

"Please, if UI is listening, please come get us out," said Ceneri.

RELATED: Eversource calls in backup, sets up command center at Bristol's Lake Compounce

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