AUGUSTA ( NEWS CENTER Maine) - Their lives have changed dramatically over twenty years, but Angus King and David Flanagan say their memories of the Ice Storm of 1998 have not dimmed.
King was Governor during the historic storm, while Flanagan was CEO of Central Maine Power. Together with the president of Bangor Hydro and Maine's Adjutant General, they led the state's recovery from the massive storm. Flanagan said the extent of damage was unprecedented, requiring the replacement of 4,000 utility poles and nearly a million feet of electric cable. It took a round the clock effort by Maine utility crews and tree workers, the Maine National Guard and more than a thousand out of state line crews.
King and Flanagan both recalled the effort it took to get some of that outside help to Maine. Flanagan said line crews from North Carolina were ready to join the recovery effort, but it was going to take three to four days for them to drive here. He asked King for help, and King called then Vice -President Al Gore, who had come to Maine a few days earlier to see the damage. The end result was military transport planes, which loaded the line crews and trucks in North Carolina and flew them to the Brunswick Naval Air Station.
"It was like the cavalry had arrived," said King, describing the moment when the line trucks rolled off the ramp of the C-17 airplanes.
The former Governor said his greatest overall memory of the ice storm is how Maine people pulled together to help each other through the ordeal.
Flanagan said the work done by CMP crews-who rebuilt the electric grid and restored power to hundreds of thousands of Mainers in just over three weeks, was his company's "finest moment".