By Lyndon Johnson, OCN Staff
Considering the carnage dealt by the ice storm that struck Hanging Limb and surrounding communities Saturday, Feb. 21, the recovery on the mountain has been relatively swift, but Overton-Picket E-911 Director Chris Masiongale said a big push is needed this weekend.
He’s hoping citizen volunteers will be a vital part of the effort.
“We’re hoping for a big volunteer day tomorrow,” Masiongale said.
Those interested in volunteering Saturday, Feb. 28 should call (931) 823-1133.
“We’ve been using that as a catch-all. I’ve got people manning that phone number 24 hours a day. They’re pretty good about fielding everything and sending it to whoever it needs to go to,” Masiongale added.
As the clean-up effort moves into its next phase, Masiongale said there would be a great need for specialty labor volunteers – plumbers, contractors, and electricians.
Electricians would mostly be working to reconnect electric lines that run from electric meters to homes in the affected area, Masiongale said. He noted that Volunteer Electric Cooperative had told him inspection would not be necessary before power could be turned on at affected homes, but those who reconnect the lines would have to be licensed electricians.
Plumbers, meanwhile, may be needed to help people repair busted water lines that fell victim to bitter cold conditions over the same period as the communitywide blackout. And contractors will likely be needed to make repairs to some homes, though Masiongale estimated the number of homes that suffered notable physical damage as a result of the ice storm to be relatively small – perhaps a total of 45.
“Materials will be purchased – we just need their expertise,” Masiongale said.