The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Staff Photo by Charles Boothe:
BFMS East Campus’ gymnasium was set up as a shelter to house those who lost electricity during the weekend storms. From left are Anne Wolfe, Kathy Miles, Toni Turner and Debbie Powell. All were helping at the shelter Monday afternoon. Thirty residents spent the night there Sunday night, while 20 stayed at the shelter Saturday night. People also came to take showers and get ice. Hardee’s, Subway and Krispy Kreme were among restaurants that provided food to those staying. Hometown Ice provided ice.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
About 5,583 Appalachian Power (APCo) customers in Franklin County remained without electricity Tuesday morning, following a Friday night storm that packed winds in excess of 75 mph and additional storms on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Friday's wind storm came after temperatures during the day topped the 100-degree mark, according to APCo.
The storm stopped traffic as the heavy winds downed trees and power lines across roadways in several parts of Franklin County.
The National Weather Service said the heat wave is expected the rest of this week with temperatures in the mid-90s.
As the storm swept through Boones Mill, a tree fell on a Boones Mill volunteer firefighter, critically injuring him while he was working to clear the roadway of a fallen tree. John L. Echternach Jr. died from the injuries on Monday at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, according to Daryl Hatcher, director of the Franklin County Public Safety Department. Echternach had served as a firefighter and EMT since June 2003.
No other deaths or injuries have been reported as storm related, Hatcher said. However, a number of people have been treated at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital for heat-related illnesses.
Because of continued hot weather and power outages, public safety and the American Red Cross has opened a cooling center at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Rocky Mount, according to Red Cross Regional Director Amy Whittaker.
"Anyone needing a safe, cool place to stay is encouraged to come to the center, where they will find water and snacks available," Whittaker said. The center opens at 11 a.m. Shower facilities are available.
Faye Hicks with the Franklin County Animal Shelter said a special area at the BFMS cooling center has been set up so persons can also bring their pets and protect them from the heat.
"We have all the accommodations needed for your pets," Hicks said. "This includes water, snacks, leashes and confinement areas."
The cooling center is scheduled to close today (Wednesday, July 4) at 6 p.m., Hatcher said.
Residents needing potable water can bring their own containers and fill up at the Westlake Sheriff's Office, Boones Mill Fire Department and Benjamin Franklin Middle School.
County residents whose property was damaged by the storms and not covered by insurance should contact public safety at 483-3091. Uninsured storm damage estimates are used by the federal government to determine if an area qualifies for disaster relief, Hatcher said.
Storm-related debris should be taken to the Franklin County Landfill on Route 220 South, where it will be disposed of at no charge through Saturday, July 7. Large roll-off dumpsters have also been placed at the green box sites at Hardy, Glade Hill, Scruggs, Burnt Chimney and Boones Mill through Saturday.
APCo also reported that a boat barrier at Smith Mountain Lake Dam broke apart in the storm Friday night. The barrier, which keeps boaters from approaching the dam, has since been repaired, APCo said.
Philpott Lake officials with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, said the storm forced the closing of Horseshoe Point Park. Craig Rockwell, Philpott Lake operations manager, said the park will remain closed until power is restored. The other parks around Philpott Lake remained open since the power was not interrupted in any of them.
Many county residents were out with power equipment Friday night to help clear roads. Josh Trelease and Charles Trelease, owners of Tiger Rents in Rocky Mount, loaded up their available chainsaws and helped clear trees in the Redwood area along Route 40 East.
"More and more citizens and EMS workers helped as we cleared trees," Josh Trelease said. "It was a fine example of a community working together in the face of adversity."
The Comfort Inn in Rocky Mount reduced its room rates for the duration of the power outages from $72 per day to $65 per day, according to Jerry Robertson, motel manager.
A spokesperson at the Holiday Inn Express in Rocky Mount said room rates have not been reduced because they are booked up with no rooms available.
APCo said power is expected to be fully restored to all Franklin County customers by Saturday, July 7.