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'Mobile Village' in East Hampton Set Up for LIPA Workers

Sleeper units, fueling station, mess hall tents provide accommodations for contractors brought in from around the country to help restore power after Sandy.

Since crews were called in Wednesday from around the country to help the Long Island Power Authority restore service to the nearly 90 percent of its customers affected by the hurricane, work began on arranging accommodations for them.

An unused runway on the west side of the East Hampton Airport in Wainscott was transformed to a mobile village of sorts that can provide sleeping, bathing, and eating accommodations for up to 1,000 of the more than 2,000 workers that arrived on Long Island from as far west as California.

Though sleeping in Wainscott, many will actually be working on points further west in Suffolk County, in areas even more devastated in the storm. On Friday afternoon, there are 1,753 customers with power outages in the Town of East Hampton, well less than 1 percent of the 527,702 total outages on Long Island.

Workers, with whom LIPA have contracted for services in case of such major electrical and gas incidents, started arriving on Thursday evening. Vinny Esposito, the staging area manager, said they will work 16 hour days and return to the staging area to sleep, eat, and clean-up.

Converted trailers, called mobile sleeping units, were trucked in, along with bathrooms and showers. A tent was erected mess hall with onsite catering. There's even a nurse on site round the clock.

Staging areas such as these popped up in four other locations on Long Island: at Nassau Coliseum, Bethpage State Park, Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, and Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Shirley.

"There are just no lodgings available," Esposito said, adding that many of the people displaced along the south shore have gone to hotels.

"Although you hate to see the travel time, there's just no place to bed them down. You can't have them sleeping in their cabs because they're working 16-hour days. If you don't get enough rest, it's dangerous work to help people that aren't well rested," he said. With travel time, they'll end up getting about 6 hours of sleep, he said.

LIPA has set up twice before at the municipal airport in Wainscott in anticipation of Hurricanes Earle in 2010 and Irene in 2011, through a cooperative agreement with the Town of East Hampton.

"It has never been this extensive," said Anne Ramer, an assistant site manager, who gave East Hampton Patch a tour on Thursday evening, as the first contractors started arriving with their utility and box trucks with Michigan tags. They were expecting 500 workers to arrive Thursday evening.

Sleeper units, which stack three bunk-beds six deep on both sides of the trailers, had bedding and lights and heat on, thanks to generators. More units were expected to arrive on Friday. Dinner was about to be served, complete with chocolate cake. The fuel truck was ready to refuel the workers' vehicles before they head out in the morning.

The site has 50 staging area personnel, including flaggers to help park the vehicles in an organized fashion. Esposito and his operations team set up with computers in the East Hampton Fire Department's building that houses equipment to fight airport-related fires.

The grounds are fully lit with mobile spot lights that have to face a certain way so to not interfere with airport traffic landing nearby, Ramar said, adding LIPA officials met with town officials to make sure everything was okay. There's also security at the entrance.

"The obvious major benefit of having LIPA there is proximity," said Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who added he has received calls from angry residents who don't have power yet, five days after Sandy hit the South Fork. "Both Johnson [Nordlinger, his assistant] and I will spend a good couple of hours over there delivering locations and specific addresses that still need attention. There is a level of customer of service from that point of view that comes with them being in our town."

Dawn Brophy November 02, 2012 at 09:25 PM
The Devon area in Amagansett has no power. Bill - add that to your list! Thanks!
Christina DeSanti November 03, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Ditto Prospect Blvd and Seaton Street
Ashley November 03, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I'm sure you don't hear this enough but I want to THANK YOU for all that you've done!!! It's pretty amazing you were willing to leave your homes and families to help us out!!!!
Jazzy M November 03, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Thanks to EH for it's generosity. Can you please hit Hedges Lane in Amagansett. We could really use some help. Big tree down. Thx
Willie Rangel November 03, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Generator for sale. 10000 watts. I can deliver. Eldiablomatch@yahoo.com
K. November 03, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Ain't that quaint. As we persevere the results of a monopoly where there is no incentive to conduct quality work you have a rest area. 34 of 50 lipa substations failed in a 74 mph wind storm with very little precipitation. It would seem to me someone should be discussing how to update this insufficient system.
dont care November 03, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Pleasant Lane Newtown Lane 6 Days no power come on LIPA
laraine creegan November 03, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Culloden area MONTAUK still no power since Monday. We are not on the LIPA outage map. Help...:..... it is cold now, don't forget we are here!
James K November 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Northwest landing, crews came in to fix lines days ago workers said it was going to be fixed that day?? All the lines down were fixed but still no power 3 days later?
p brabant November 03, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Glade road in springs is still with out power please help my kids are cold
T.J. Clemente November 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hey Taylor-great heads up coverage, when this settles down, patch should sound you to South Beach FLA.
Ann November 03, 2012 at 04:18 PM
There was a truck on Woodbine yesterday...he hooked up one house down there & we were told "oh no,sorry,Glade is Spg.Fireplace" & left us in the dark.State Electric?? Are these guys out there NOT high Voltage tech's? Is this why he couldn't help?? Please try to get LIPA to Spg.! They're in EH but going West?? Any info you can get will be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks Taylor
T.J. Clemente November 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM
thats " send you to south beach," i am terrible on keyboard, learned on a non electric typewriter
Diane Sadowski November 03, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Thank you LIPA workers! We value your dedication!!! My family understands that you are all committed and working hard long hours. We are there for you, even without power! But if you need something, let us know. There are a lot of great, patient, individuals in our community.
David Buda November 03, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Please add Montgomery Avenue, in The Springs, to the list of streets still without power six days after the Superstorm. Why cannot LIPA give out meaningful estimates of when power will be restored?
The Hamptons Chick November 03, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I'm not sure LIPA knows what they will encounter as they move from issue to issue. Troubleshooting often comes with no time estimate for resolution. I would think that is an almost impossible request. I feel sorry for the LIPA workers. They have no say in where they are sent and what they will encounter. They're doing their jobs. They didn't create the storm; mother nature did. Nor did they design or create the "antiquated" LIPA system. Cold children and backed up toilets is definitely no fun, but we are, (for the most part,) ALIVE out here. As the saying goes, "Don't shoot the messenger." I think the LIPA workers want to have these issues remedied as much as we do. They're working around the clock, away from their families. Try giving him some coffee. I think you'll find it gets you further.
Shrinkgirl November 03, 2012 at 09:57 PM
i love you LIPA. Thanks for doing your best.
mtkmiss November 04, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I stopped to say "Thank you" to a couple of the guys working & from thier initial cringing when I pulled up, I think they expected me to start yelling at them & demand when they would get "my" power back on....When I said "Thank you" they gave me the biggest grins and a thumbs up....sort of bitter-sweet, when you think about it. I am with the Hamptons Chick on this one, rather than getting snotty with them for doing the best they can in very trying circumstances, lets just say Thank you & we appreciate every thing you are doing for us.
Dana Kalbacher November 04, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Its not the workers fault..LIPA has repeatedly had calls from our neighbors about bad trees and sagging wires along with transformers blowing up near us every few months...The guys who restored our power were exhausted and in need of a few kind words. ...and they couldn't do a thing until the Asplundh guys removed all the dead limbs and trees. Tough stuff..But we are very lucky out here on the East End..count your blessings and give what you can to our neighbors to the West..
Eastend50 November 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I heard of two instances this morning where passersby were harrassing LIPA line crews this morning. One in Amagansett and one in East Hampton. It's probably because of frustration, but the East Hampton police should lock up anyone immediately who harasses or attempts to interfere with restoration procedures
Catherine M. Casey November 05, 2012 at 02:05 PM
We suffered very little damage here and one tragic loss of life. We should be grateful that our community was spared for the most part. Loss of utilities is only an inconvenience, unless you have a medical condition or special need. And there are places to go in East Hampton if you need to leave your home. Food an shelter are available. We are so attached to our creature comforts that we forget gratitude for what we have. There is only 1 family in East Hampton that lost something of true value. Everything else is expendable in the scheme of things.
David Buda November 05, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Montgomery Avenue and many other streets in East Hampton have finally come back "on line" (thanks to the efforts of the many tree clearing crews and electric company workers), although numerous areas of outage still remain to be restored. Furthermore, I have to second Ms. Casey's thoughtful comment hereinabove.
M. Hutchinson November 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
NGrid people from upstate NY & Tree cutters from Alabama are working 16 hour days & having to drive 2 hours each way to get to the Oyster Bay area to clean out the trees, etc. Come on - won't somebody come up with sleeping / eating / shower / gas facilities closer to the area they work in so they don't waste 4 hours/day just commuting? You want your electricity on faster........they can only do so much. They have already been away from their homes/families since last Thurs & no idea when the work will be done.

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