PARADISE, Calif. - Three Eugene Water & Electric Board line crews have worked 15 days straight to restore power to victims of the deadly Camp Fire in northern California.
The fire broke out November 8 and went on to kill at least 88 people. The fire destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and 530 commercial buildings as it swept across more than 150,000 acres.
The fire has been contained. The cause remains under investigation.
The EWEB crews are part of a "nationwide mutual aid initiative to rebuild the electric system in and around Paradise."
The practice of lending crews to areas in need is not new. EWEB called in mutual aid in 2016 in the aftermath of an ice storm to restore power here.
"Electric utilities in the United States have mutual assistance agreements to help one another rebuild power lines and poles after disasters in order to connect homes and businesses to the electric grid as soon as possible," according to EWEB.
But the Camp Fire was an unprecedented event in California history.
"It was an amazingly devastating event," said Scott Mehlbrech, a Line Crew Lead II who visited the crews last week. "I've never seen anything like it and it's hard to find the words to describe the destruction."
The 13 EWEB line technicians have been working 16-hour shifts.
They are based at a camp in the Chico area serving as a temporary home for line crews from as far away as Florida and Hawaii.