Tree Cutting Crews Keep Water Closeby In Grueling Heat

By Jeff Neumeyer

July 6, 2012 Updated Jul 6, 2012 at 7:27 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A critical task in restoring power across Northeast Indiana is getting trees off electric lines. That task is not easy in a heat wave like the one we're experiencing.

We caught up with a crew Friday to see what they’re dealing with on the job.

It looks a little like a war zone on Kirkwood Street, not far from the IPFW campus.

Limbs, branches, and even whole trees are split apart and down.

Crews mid-day worked to get a tree out of the street, and a block or so to the north, other workers labored to get parts of a tree off a power line.

There was new damage from Thursday night's storm, increasing aggravation for some property owners.

" We just started to get power back on last night and it only came on half, and then the other storm hit," said Emily Eisaman.

Indiana-Michigan Power contracts with Asplundh tree removal service in Fort Wayne to clear downed electric lines.

The workers generally deal with smaller limbs.

The recent storms knocked down very big trees that present special challenges.

" When you get a broken tree with this much weight being distributed in different directions, they have to be really cautious, it's really dangerous,” said Scott Bennett, a forestry supervisor for Indiana Michigan Power.

" Something could fall on you, something could snap back on you. There's just a lot of stored energy."

The other special challenge right now is the oppressive heat.

Bennett says it is forcing everybody to have water on hand at all times.

He says the hydration process really starts before the work shift begins.

"I mean, when they get up in the morning, they start drinking. I mean, that's just the key to getting hydrated and staying hydrated," says Bennett.

Crews are also taking more frequent breaks to cool down.

Temperatures are expected to fall Sunday, welcome news, even if much of the heavy lifting will be done by then.

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