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Aurora Day 2: Rookie crew members ‘baptized’ amid thunder and snow

When Aurora’s plow trucks ran out of diesel fuel, East Aurora supplied extra fuel so crews could keep going through Wednesday morning’s snow break.

Highway department trucks went back out in the sunshine to push 7-foot roadside piles farther off roads and prepare for the next onslaught.

“Even though the sun’s out right now, we are by far no means stopping,” David Gunner, Aurora’s highway superintendent, said today. “I just worked 34 hours straight. We’re getting ready for the next band of snow that’s supposed to be coming tonight.”

To get the snow off the streets, crews in six trucks worked in rotation with replacement drivers at the ready and taking over as soon people tired. This included two new crew members in their early 20s who were officially “baptized” by all the storm work, Gunner said.

“It was scary sending them out,” he said, explaining he wasn’t sure at first how well they would handle the grueling pace.

They did just fine.

“When you get thunder snow, that’s when it’s really barreling down on you. They were real brave. They didn’t stop, they kept going,” Gunner said.

Gunner was so busy trying to clear impassable roads that he drove a giant “payloader” truck – with a mechanical front scoop that can lift snow up in the air – to make a pitstop to kiss his 10-year-old daughter goodnight at his house in the village.

“She thought that was pretty cool,” Gunner said. “I don’t normally drive highlifts home. It was the only way I could get home.”

- mkearns@buffnews.com