A Maritime Electric crew that was helping clean up and restoration efforts in Turks and Caicos after Hurricane Irma struck are leaving the islands for Miami as Hurricane Maria approaches.
The crew left early Wednesday afternoon for Florida with Maria, forecast to be a Category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall, set to strike on Friday.
"We need to make sure that our team is safe," said Maritime Electric spokesperson Kim Griffin.
"You know, they feel bad. They feel bad for the people at the Turks and Caicos that they could be hit again with another storm. So once we have the all clear we've committed to them that we will be going back."
The seven Island utility workers in Turks and Caicos were part of a larger team of about 60 employees from Fortis, Maritime Electric's parent company.
More than 1,000 poles were damaged by Hurricane Irma. Crews had been clearing debris awaiting the arrival of supplies to help with power restoration.
Griffin said replacement poles and trucks started to arrive last week and will have to be put into storage in safe areas during the next storm.
The crews will be in Miami until they receive an all clear from the Turks and Caicos government to return, which Griffin said could be before the end of the weekend.
'Sad and devastated'
Griffin said crew members she had spoken with told her of their admiration for the people of Turks and Caicos.
"They've been just so overwhelmed that people have come to help them… our crews have certainly felt safe, have felt very welcome," she said.
"I think people are really feeling quite sad and devastated that Hurricane Maria is coming toward them again."
Maritime Electric has committed to sending another team to Turks and Caicos in October.
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