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ST. MARYS — The county EMA director says he has switched gears three days after a storm downed power lines, felled trees and caused massive power outages.
“Countywide, I have switched from response mode into recovery mode,” Auglaize County EMA Director Troy Anderson told The Evening Leader on Monday. “Since the storms left and the power outages are down, we are looking into recovery. What that means is I’ve been talking with the council on aging to see what the needs of our seniors are in terms of tree removal and brush cleanup.”
Any senior in Auglaize County is encouraged to call the council on aging at 419-394-8252 for assistance in cleanup efforts. Anderson also is looking into securing volunteer groups to assist.
“We’re also working on damage assessments,” Anderson said.
“I will be plotting damage on a map to see the hardest hit areas to make sure those individuals get the help they need.”
As officials make the rounds examining the damage, Anderson said reports will be compiled in an effort to determine if the county is eligible for more state and federal assistance.
Right now, the disaster declaration issued on Saturday covers water, ice and fuel.
“If we do get another emergency declaration and if there is any assistance available down the road, we will have that info ready to turn in,” Anderson said, noting residents should take photographs before starting any repairs. “We will be able to turn that in to see if we could get assistance either through FEMA or SBA.”
As residents continue to cut branches and clean up properties, Anderson stressed the importance of remaining vigilant when people show up on their doorsteps offering to help.
“Ask to see credentials,” Anderson said. “Don’t just let anyone onto your property. If they are representing us, they will have credentials ... During events like this, you get all kinds of people coming out. The majority will want to help and will provide credentials.”
Those in need of assistance can contact Anderson at 419-733-3857.
In New Bremen, village crews continued to remove debris from streets. Village Administrator Wayne York said power was restored to the village at 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
“We’ve had a few blips since then, not on our system,” York said. “DP&L is having a very difficult time because of system peaks because of the hot, humid weather. They lost some redundancy and feeder loops, which is if one goes down, they can reroute to the other side of the loop. They also still have some caps in their system.”
The village’s infrastructure also withstood most of the storm’s barrage. Wind speeds were clocked at 82 mph, with gusts reaching 90 mph.
“We had a few fuses blown on our system and one residential transformer burned up,” York said. “We had a handful of house services that went down because of branches, but we didn’t lose any primary lines.”
York touted the village’s aggressive tree trimming program for preventing more damage on Friday.
“We work with property owners and offer one or two replacement trees out from under the paths of lines and that showed Friday night,” he said.
York also thanked the cooperation among local government municipalities during the storm.
“We loaned a backhoe to German Township,” York said. “We’d also like to thank Fort Loramie. We borrowed their stand-by generator for our water treatment plant because ours didn’t work properly. We hooked it up and used it for several hours.”
York said he expected crews to be busy with brush pick-up all week.
“If they put it out to the curb, we’ll get it as soon as we can,” York said. “We have a grappling hook that hooks onto our skid steer loader and that’s the fastest way for us to handle it. We just put the grappling hook on it and we’ll do the smaller pieces by hand.”
Minster Village Administrator Don Harrod noted the village’s electrical infrastructure also escaped major damage.
“We did very well — we lost power Friday night for only about four to five hours,” Harrod said. “We had numerous trees down throughout the village and there was some damage to our shelterhouses at Four Seasons Park.”
Harrod said the villagewide outage was linked to damage to DP&L lines. He also encouraged residents to cut any limbs into small, manageable pieces for village crews.
“If they can cut them into a size that can be easily handled and put into a chipper, that would help,” Harrod said. “Just place them in the tree lawns or alleys and that would make it easy on our guys.”