Nightly News | December 27, 2013
>>> tonight, tens of thousands of families are still in the dark and cold. for some of them it's been six days since the power went out during a big ice storm . as nbc's kevin tibbles reports tonight from charlotte, michigan , power crews are racing to get the lights and heat back on.
>> reporter: the sun barely shows itself, but crews are already in the sky. how come you're smiling?
>> happy to be out here getting people's power back on for them.
>> reporter: they have come from as far as wisconsin, ohio and maryland. putting in 18-hour days away from their own families at christmas.
>> we had various wire-downs and our number one priority is customer safety and employee safety. so we have to make sure we keep the public safe.
>> reporter: it's freezing cold down here on the ground where i am. where he's working it's probably 15 to 20 degrees colder in the wind. here, heavy ice buckled power lines . the crew is efficient and fast. residents, very thankful.
>> we have so many christmas cookies . i don't think me or dave would care to have another one. they have all been appreciative. we haven't had one bad thing said to us.
>> reporter: some will have to wait a while longer.
>> unfortunately the power company has run out of the meter boxes they need to reinstall so we can get hooked back up.
>> reporter: in maine, compounding headaches for those in the dark.
>> it's pretty but it's causing damage.
>> reporter: still, a thank you from residents here, too. back in michigan with the line repaired dave fletcher hoists a pole, finally restoring power.
>> essentially just flicking the switch?
>> yep. just close it in.
>> reporter: homeowner tom nickett breathes a sigh of relief.
>> my christmas tree lights are on.
>> reporter: that's a good sign. he then quickly heads to the thermostat. his house got down to 37 degrees.
>> the furnace is on.
>> reporter: he returns back outside to catch the crew before they leave.
>> thanks a lot, guys. i appreciate it.
>> reporter: kevin tibbles, nbc news, charlotte, michigan .