How Walla Walla Corps of Engineers is helping in Puerto Rico - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How Walla Walla Corps of Engineers is helping in Puerto Rico

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WALLA WALLA, WA - A blackout hit Puerto Rico this morning, knocking out power all over the island. Our local Walla Walla Army Corps of Engineers still has a team down there, working to restore power after a massive Category 4 hurricane devastated the island last year.

As of this afternoon, we're told there was zero percent power generation on the island. The cause of the blackout was due to a contractor who had been working to remove a collapsed tower when the bulldozer hit a power line.

The island has really been hit with a one-two punch since just last week, when a tree fell on another power line - leaving 840,000 people without power.

Today we spoke with Major Catalina Carrasco, who says they are specifically working with Prepa, the Puerto Rican electric power authority, to get things back up and running.

"Well, right now we're still as motivated as ever," Major Carrasco said. "I mean, it's obviously a setback and it's not something obviously that we're happy about. We're trying to go as quickly as we can. We're trying to reach everyone and every day that goes without power for some people... I mean it's just heartbreaking for us."

Now there is some good news: Major Carrasco says the emergency generators at critical facilities like hospitals and police stations were not affected by this.

Right now, all of the focus is on bringing the main generators back online... but this is a frustrating time not only for the relief workers but for the citizens themselves, since nearly 40,000 are still without normal electricity as a result of Hurricane Maria.

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