New Jersey utility crews head to Florida to help restore power

Posted: Updated:

New Jersey is heeding Florida Power and Light’s call for help as more than 3 million homes and businesses remain without power following Hurricane Irma.

TRACKING IRMA: Tropical Tracker | Photos | Weather Center

Twenty Jersey Central Power and Light crews departed Summit Thursday morning for Sarasota. First Energy has already sent almost 1,500 workers from across its ten companies, including JCP&L, in six states.

Temperatures in central and southern Florida are expected to reach the 90s over the next several days, with humidity making the air feel like it’s in the mid-90s. The high temperatures have made the race to restore power even more urgent.

Early Wednesday morning, after responding to three calls about patients at a Florida nursing home in distress, firefighters went through the facility and found three people dead and evacuated more than 150 patients to hospitals, many on stretchers or in wheelchairs, authorities said.

RELATED: Death of 8 at Florida nursing home sounds alarms after Irma

By the afternoon, five more had died. Others were treated for dehydration, breathing difficulties and other heat-related problems.

Staff at the nursing home said the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.

The crews sent to Florida said they know what they're doing. They're the same teams who faced rebuilding in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy hit nearly five years ago.

The Associated Press news wire service contributed to this report.

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