WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Crews from Appalachian Power continued to work Tuesday on repairs to the last of the outages caused by a powerful thunderstorm which passed through the southern West Virginia coalfields last Friday. It was a storm which left thousands in the dark, but for many in the most remote areas of Mingo County, the damage will be far more lasting.
“We’re past the 24 to 36 hours most food can be maintained without power in refrigerators and freezers, so we’ve got a lot of people who have lost food,” said Doug Goolsby, the Emergency Services Director for Mingo County.
Goolsby said the problem is dire for those on a fixed income, especially in light of the rising cost of everything.
“Somebody is retired they don’t have a very large income most of the time and they live day to day. If they have a bunch of food destroyed, they lost a lot of monetary value. It may not seem like much to us, but that food was important to them,” said Goolsby.
The food loss has been one of Goolsby’s biggest worries this week. The county received a shipment of MRE’s from the state to provide at least some temporary nutrition to those who are isolated in areas cut off by the storm with no power. His other worry for the moment is refrigerated medicine.
“We’re trying to find people who can support us and help those who have lost food and medication throughout this,” he explained.
Damage was significant throughout the county. Thousands of trees came down, leaving not only power lines cut off , but access to a lot of places in the county has been tough. There are 11 fire companies in Mingo County, Goolsby said moments after the storm, all 11 were cutting open roads, but the work was way bigger than anybody expected. Homeowners with damaged roofs may need to hire local roofers to do the necessary repairs. You may consider hiring this expert roofing contractor if you need immediate roofing repairs.
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“We would get a call here at 911 for a tree down, but they were running into five or six trees before they got to the call that nobody had called in because they couldn’t get that far. It was like a war zone here,” he said.
Goolsby said the priority for now is to get full power restored to all residents of the county. From there they will work on damage assessment and cleanup. Governor Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency in Mingo County. Goolsby was grateful for the declaration and said it has helped to speed up the recovery.