Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Ira Quillen
Lynchburg, VA - The outage numbers have been dropping in some areas, while holding steady in others. Lynchburg's been making slow progress Thursday. But, many in Amherst County are still without power. And, as the cleanup continues, the temperatures soar ever higher.
When you drive by power crews, you probably see a bunch of trucks and workers. But, Tommy Bondurant sees an assembly line.
"It's just like a production line in a factory," said Bondurant.
And like any production line, roadblocks pop up: Too many downed trees, even heavy traffic can slow down APCO crews.
"If they just stop and block our trucks, then we are down until they move the traffic out of the way," said Bondurant.
Fortunately, Lynchburg crews have hit fewer roadblocks in the past two days, sending outage numbers plummeting below the 10,000 mark.
"Everything went tremendously well," said Bondurant.
But across the water, a different story. Madison Heights has power. But, crews say other parts of Amherst County with the rural terrain is more slow-going.
Power or no power, customers are passing small gestures of thanks to crews.
"I was going to give them peaches, but sadly the peaches were not so nice at the grocery store, so I had to switch to grapes," said Erno Csatlos.
Any appreciation goes a long way. The heat is taking its toll. Crews work 16-hour days, wearing equipment that adds 30-40 pounds of weight. And even though they've restored power to thousands, crews are holding the champagne until all of Central Virginia is on again.
"Is this a time to celebrate?" we asked Bondurant.
"No, no celebration yet until the last customer is on," he said.
A sidenote about Erno Csatlos, who gave power crews some grapes. He grew up in Romania. He says the communist government would turn the power out every day for 2 hours. Still, he's never experienced anything like Central Virginia in the last week.