National Guard helping with ice storm aftermath in Wayne County

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 11:02 PM EST
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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The National Guard has boots on the ground in Wayne County helping clean up the mess left by the ice storms.

Staff Sgt. Jacob Robinson tells WSAZ they have more than 20 Guard members in the county.

One crew worked Thursday evening on Robin Hills Lane in Kenova, removing trees and debris from the road. They say trees fell on several homes on the road, and those residents have been stranded.

“It’s pretty severe,” Robinson said. “Pretty much the entire county has been affected by this storm.”

Other guard teams are using ATVs to do welfare checks for people enduring the long stretch without power.

On Thursday, 24 people who lost electricity and heat in their homes spent the night at the Wayne Fire Department, which is being used as a warming station.

Scott Beach, who’s on oxygen, stayed there with his wife, children, and grandkids.

“We’re very, very grateful,” he said. “We can’t thank these guys enough for taking care of us.”

A group of women who live in a recovery home in Wayne also stayed at the fire department. Being too frigid to stay at their house, they’re grateful the warming station allows them to stay warm and together.

“We’re very grateful to be here and have warmth and be able to sleep without being cold,” Harley Nicely, a Marie’s Place resident, said. “It’s very important for us to stay together, because we are one family.”

The Dunlow Community Center and Lavalette Fire Department are also being used as warming stations.

BJ Willis, the Wayne County 911 director and emergency management coordinator, says they haven’t had any reports of anyone being in bad shape physically due to the weather and outages.

Willis says members of the sheriff’s department have been using ATVs the past couple days to do welfare checks for people stranded in their homes due to downed trees. They’ve also been delivering medicine and offering to take them to warming centers.

Wilson says some of the other hardest-hit areas in the county include Smith Branch, Hampton Ridge, and Wilson Creek.

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