LaGrange, Troup County assisting in emergency storm cleanup efforts

Published 7:12 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2019

City of LaGrange and Troup County employees are lending a hand to nearby locations impacted by the tornadoes that swept through the region on Sunday.

By Monday, City of LaGrange Public Works crews were assisting in storm damage cleanup in nearby Pine Mountain. Twelve city employees spent the day in Pine Mountain clearing the areas ravaged by the storms in east Alabama and west Georgia.

“We called Pine Mountain Mayor Jim Trott and offered our help in cleaning up the area. Our crews thought, ‘We have all the equipment to help, and we’re only 15 miles away,’” said LaGrange Public Services Director Dion Senn. “Electric crews always help other communities, and our public works wanted to also help.”

Meanwhile, Troup County is assisting Harris County with storm damage cleanup efforts and damage assessment from the destruction left by tornadoes that hit west-central Georgia and east Alabama early Sunday evening. Troup County Roads and Engineering, Troup County Sheriff’s Office, Troup County Emergency Management and Troup County Property Appraisal are all extending assistance to neighboring Harris County for emergency relief efforts.

After reaching out to the Harris County Public Works department to offer assistance in light of the current devastation, Troup County Roads and Engineering and the TCSO deployed two road cleanup crews and a debris chipper crew to Harris County to assist in the clearing and disposal of debris from public right-of-ways.

The county crews have brought in multiple pieces of heavy equipment to assist in hauling storm debris and aiding in overall cleanup efforts. They are working on 10 mostly rural and residential roads throughout Harris County. According to County Engineer James Emery, Troup County road crews will continue to offer assistance in Harris County for the next couple of days.

“We’re pleased to offer support to our neighbor in their time of need. We know from first-hand experience what it’s like to feel overwhelmed after a natural disaster and would like to help in any way that we can,” said Emery.

Troup County Emergency Management Director Dennis Knight and five Troup County Property Appraisal staff members also assisted in storm damage efforts through conducting preliminary damage assessment in Pine Mountain. The team worked to assess areas of destruction and gather data to forward to the state. They ultimately reported over 50 homes that were affected by the wave of storms that ripped through the area. Out of the 50-plus homes hit by the storm, some of the areas assessed had minor damage, while others were left with major destruction due largely to fallen trees. EMA Director Dennis Knight stated that Harris County requested assistance in damage assessment, and he immediately went to work.

LaGrange Crews helped to cut down trees on utility lines and the right of way throughout the Mountain Brook neighborhood. The City of LaGrange brought in two excavators, a bobcat and five dump trucks to aid in the clean-up efforts.

“The sections of Mountain Brook subdivision were completely devastated. When we drove into the subdivision, we saw hundreds of trees blown over. The residents have no power and most of them are stranded because the trees are blocking their driveways,” said Senn. “The outpouring of support for the first responders from the community has been overwhelming. We’ve been fed very well, and they continue to thank us.”

LaGrange Public Works crews plan to continue helping in the clean-up effort in Pine Mountain for the next several days, according to a press release from the city.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp toured the damage caused by a tornado in Talbotton Monday and declared a state of emergency for Harris, Talbot and Grady counties. Pine Mountain is in Harris County.

“With extensive storm damage in Grady, Harris, and Talbot Counties, it is imperative that we take swift action to help affected Georgians and deploy state resources in ongoing response and recovery efforts. This declaration immediately dispatches additional first responders and assistance as we continue to assess the damage,” Kemp said. “Throughout this process, I have received regular updates from state and local leaders. Based on this information, I will travel to affected areas this afternoon with emergency management personnel to witness the damage firsthand. At this time, we extend our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by severe weather in Georgia and Alabama, where citizens in Lee County are reeling from the deaths of at least 23 people and massive structural damage.”