MLGW crews work to restore power for thousands

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- MLGW crews worked through the tail end of the storm, picking up power lines while lightning danced in the distance.

"The lightning was going and they were still up there, and I thought that was really dedicated," Darlene Winters said.

The sound of generators slowly gave way to the sound of power tools, used by crews who were welcomed like rock stars when they finally arrived.

"These guys deserve a gold star," Debbie Deer said.

Power went out along Johnson Road around 2 p.m. Thursday, when a gust of wind blew down trees and snapped power poles in half, sending transformers crashing down in the middle of the street.

"(I) heard this loud noise, and then just sparks and flames. It just kept going," Chris Rivers said.

Parts of the neighborhood were deserted as residents packed hotels.

Deer checked out Friday night, only to arrive home and learn she was still without power.

"Everything's melted in the freezer. I'm like, we need to eat ice cream. Well, it's like ice cream soup," Deer said.

Others saved their freezers' contents with generators, like Rivers, whose neighbor loaned him one.

"It's an adventure, candlelight showers, roughing it," Rivers said.