Approximately 120 mattress are laid out for out-of-state utility workers in Dearborn Gymnasium at the University of Maine Farmington. Submitted Photo

FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington housed approximately 120 out-of-state utility workers from Wednesday, Dec. 20, to Friday, Dec 22, while the crews worked hard to restore power to Franklin County. Line workers from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Michigan and even Canada were brought in to help restore power in the wake of the storm.

UMF Facilities Director Keenan Farwell and his department were able to lay matting down onto the gymnasium floor and set up 120 mattresses for the workers in Dearborn Gymnasium. The mattresses were from Mallett and Purington halls, two of the university’s historical residence halls which are currently under renovation.

Two of the university’s parking lots were utilized to park approximately 60 utility trucks during the workers’ stay.

The powerful storm that hit the state on Monday, Dec. 18, shut down roads, schools and businesses, and left almost 500,000 Maine residents without power. Governor Janet Mills urged Mainers to stay inside and avoid travel as emergency first responders, road crews and utility workers worked diligently.

By Thursday, Dec. 21, 132,000 residents were still in the dark as line workers worked long hours to get power restored. By Sunday, Dec. 23, the number of Mainers still without power fell below 600 with 500 in Oxford and Androscoggin counties and 70 in Penobscot County without power.

Arrangements for the utility workers were orchestrated by Central Maine Power Co., with the workers departing Saturday, Dec. 23. Feeding arrangements were also provided by Roderick-Crosby American Legion Post 28, with Post Commander Stephan Bunker telling The Franklin Journal they started feeding the workers at 5 p.m. and had crews coming in as late as 9 p.m.

“They brought healthy appetites,” Bunker stated.

The American Legion joined T&B Outback Tavern in Skowhegan, Governor’s Restaurant in Waterville, and Calumet Club in Augusta in their efforts to feed the utility workers that were brought in to help with the restoration efforts.

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