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Local contractors return home after helping with Christmas-week storms

Friday - 12/27/2013, 10:41pm  ET

WASHINGTON - The local contractors responding to a Christmas-week ice storm in Michigan plan to return home this weekend.

Crews that usually work with Pepco, Baltimore Gas & Electric and Potomac Edison got a call Dec. 23 to respond to the worst outages Michigan had ever experienced around the holidays.

For contractors, it was a white Christmas spent without their families.

"These guys are a unique breed," says Brian Sarrett, the vice president of Davis H. Elliot Construction Company. "They work in the worst conditions -- whether it be hurricanes, ice or heat -- and they always have good spirits about going."

Contractors based in the District and Maryland joined crews from ten other states in the restoration effort.

"I can't tell you how much we appreciate them answering the call when we asked for help," says Debra Dodd, a spokesperson for Consumers Energy in Michigan.

Thousands of customers in that state remain without electricity, but that number has fallen dramatically from the original outage reports. Hundreds of thousands were in the dark right after the ice storm hit.

BGE released contractors with Elliot Construction Monday morning. That night, they were on the job in Michigan, and they've been at it ever since.

While Sarrett called the emergency work on Christmas "just the nature of the business," he did ring Consumers Energy on Christmas Eve to make special arrangements to feed the workers who made the trip.

The power company worked with the Salvation Army to thank the contractors.

"They provided a nice meal for them," Sarrett says. "They've been very appreciative of the guys and have treated them very, very well."

Many contractors based in the District and Maryland plan to head home Saturday or Sunday.

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