Officials pleased with quick response to storm

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Recovering from the Storm

By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt County officials have been pleased with the response to the snow and ice storm that started Tuesday.

However, there will be many weeks and months before all the recovery issues would be settled.

Bullitt County Emergency Management director Mike Phillips said things went relatively well as the area got hit with a combination of snow and ice.

The major problem faced by emergency responders has been the massive amount of trees which have fallen - blocking roads and knocking out utilities.

Phillips said seven ambulance units were on the road through the first couple of days of the storm. Many had trouble gaining access to those in need due to the blocked roads.

Nearly all the major roads were reported to be open and passable on Friday. EMA officials estimated that 86 percent of the secondary roads were open.

County road foreman Jimmy Stivers said crews had been working around the clock to first move snow and then move trees.

He said a crew was first going to move trees and salt trucks would be following.

“It’s a slow process,” said Stivers.

The crews were reduced to working during the daylight hours, said Stivers.

The number of power lines mingled in with downed trees would make it too dangerous for the road crews, said Stivers.

Phillips said debris removal would be a concern to residents as the weather broke over the weekend.

No specific plan is ready as of yet but Phillips said the hope is to have a way for residents to get rid of their limbs without incurring any cost.

In Hillview, works foreman Jim Bohannon told city residents to begin piling up their debris at curbside. The city recently purchased a new chipper.

At Friday’s meeting of local officials, Phillips said all the plans were not worked out yet but he was confident that there could be a site selected and the debris would then be taken by Bernheim Forest, which took the limbs from Hurricane Ike and made it into mulch.

While the county produced over 2,000 cubic yards of debris during September’s windstorm, Phillips said early estimates are that that figure would be tripled this time.

A plan is expected this week for debris removal.

Les Bandy, assistant EMA director, cautioned the public from entering any debris removal contracts until the county announces its plan.

He also cautioned people from any agreements on repairs unless they are approved by the property owner’s insurance carrier.

Bandy said there will be a lot of people coming into the area wanting to do work. He advised people to not pay for the services until they are performed.

At this stage, Phillips said the top priority is to get the roads cleared so electrical trucks can get into areas to get service restored.

During a meeting with fire and police officials, responders offered caution on the use of generators and propane heaters.

Zoneton fire chief Rob Orkies said a propane heater exploded on Thursday, injuring the owner.

Several deaths have been attributed in Kentucky to carbon monoxide poisoning due to the indoor use of generators.

Schools were out on Tuesday through Friday. Only one school was still out of electric service as of early Friday. No decision has been made on whether classes will be held on Monday.

Roberts said she was very pleased with the work done by all the emergency responders and the care shown by residents who have volunteered at shelters and made sure they help their neighbors.

Continue to watch www.pioneernews.net for updates on emergency efforts.