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Toronto Hydro crews return home after assisting in Sandy aftermath

Staff writers

November 16, 2012 — Crews from Toronto Hydro received a warm welcome on Thursday after returning from Sandy-hit regions in the U.S. Most say it's something they'll remember forever.

Earlier this month, hydro crews from Canada joined in recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy. 

They spent time in the hardest hit regions of the U.S. northeast, helping to restore power to customers left completely in the dark.

"Things went really well. We had a good team that we took down there and we've left another team down there to finish off one of the districts," said Toronto Hydro's Rob Milner who returned home on Thursday. "In those circumstances, a lot of our normal work practices change and the guys followed what they needed to do and they all came home safely, so that's great." 

At the height of the storm more than six million homes and businesses were without electricity.

A week later, a powerful Nor'easter slammed the coast, complicating clean-up and recovery efforts even further.

"The shocking thing is you see these homes that are still standing, but as you drive down the street there's everyone's possessions on the street," recalls Milner.

Officials say about 60,000 customers that had their power restored following Sandy, were in the dark once again due to the second storm.

"The resilience of the people however, was absolutely amazing," says Milner. "They were happy to see Toronto Hydro there because we were one more step to bringing normalcy back to their lives." 

Toronto Hydro says, that despite all the devastation and destruction, there was still a feeling of hope among residents. 

"We were in a restaurant one night and they found out we were from Canada and we were there to help and they all stood up and started clapping and cheering for us, so that was very humbling," one crew member told The Weather Network.

"A resident in the area where we were working came out with a couple of hockey sticks and was taking pictures with the guys in our crew," said another.