APS crews helping to rebuild electricity grid in Paradise

PARADISE, Calif. (KSAZ) -- Now that the Camp Fire is fully contained, utility crews from the West are descending on the demolished town of Paradise to help restore power, and among the crews are a team from Arizona.

Employees from APS have responded to natural disasters before, but they say they've never seen anything like what the Camp Fire left behind. The crews are currently working from the Paradise Airport, and from there, they work their way east.

Essentially, crews have to rebuild the entire electric system.

"This one here, I would say is complete devastation," said Robbie Houle.

Houle and his APS team arrived in Paradise over the weekend. Their goal over the next three weeks is to work with other teams from across the country to restore power.

"Our main focus on this deal is to get the backbone of distribution laid out, so we can get these people, these homes that are still standing, the energy they need and the construction teams the power they need to start rebuilding this area," said Houle.

This is not the first time APS crews have responded to natural disasters, but Houle says the devastation from the Camp Fire is on a different level.

"Basically, you're starting from the ground up," said Houle. "They take it from where the main source is, and then, they figure out the distribution path from there."

Houle said he and his team are glad to be doing their part to help the people of Paradise rebuild

"We have property, and we have lives that were lost in this catastrophic event," said Houle. "If I had to say one thing, it's very humbling to be doing what we're doing."

APS officials said they plan to send another 13 employees to help on Saturday.

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