Loss of power prompted spike in safety services
While most local residents were left without power during the June 29 and subsequent storms, local first responders had to beef up forces to manage the extenuating circumstances.
Gahanna Police Chief Dennis Murphy said his department doubled manpower in neighborhoods that had no electricity.
"Everyone behaved," he said. "By day 4, there was an incessant humming of generators."
He said it was business as usual for the police department because officers train for such events.
"Our job is to protect property and lives," he said.
Gahanna emergency operations director James Williams said July 10 that the majority of Gahanna residents have their power restored. An estimated 90 percent had lost electricity at the height of the outage.
"The big issue now is cleaning up the debris and down limbs in everyone's yards," Williams said. "People have to do that on their own and abide by Rumpke's rules in bundling the limbs and debris."
Mifflin Assistant Fire Chief Fred Kauser said firefighters responded to three serious structure fires over the June 29 weekend. Two were in Gahanna proper, and one was in the unincorporated portion of the township.
"As you can imagine, battling fires and responding to medical emergencies takes its toll on emergency workers," he said. "We rotate them more frequently and permit a longer recovery period during this climate where possible. Due to the increase in demand for services, this was not always possible."
Kauser said the official cause of each fire hasn't been determined; however, the two in Gahanna appear to be storm-related.
Williams reported to Gahanna council on July 2 that a lightning strike on a Gahanna Heights residence the day before caused a fire that destroyed the second floor.
Williams said Port Columbus International Airport recorded winds at 81 mph June 29, and Gahanna saw damage that it hadn't seen since the remnants of Hurricane Ike in 2008.
"(Downed) power lines plus trees equal disaster," he said.
Kauser said firefighters worked around the clock after the storm struck.
"Gahanna firefighters were involved in many serious events across the region, including the Hamilton Road incident in which approximately 26 people were trapped under high-tension power lines for nearly five hours," he said.
City service director Dottie Franey reported to council July 9 that city crews had done a good job of clearing the streets of storm debris.
She and deputy service director Mike Andrako evaluated the city's streets July 9, Franey said, and they were in fair shape.
Mayor Becky Stinchcomb declared Gahanna in a state of emergency June 30 because of significant power outages, property damage, road obstruction and reduced services and capabilities.
Williams said the proclamation formally allowed the city to seek all available assistance from Franklin County, the state and the federal government. He said the city possibly could qualify for reimbursement of city funds expended during the recovery process.