Ice Storm Cleanup Slow In Westville

Friday, February 13th 2009, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News on 6

WESTVILLE, OK -- The ice is long gone in eastern Oklahoma, but the devastation left in its wake is still evident.

Winter's wicked ice storm has all but destroyed the trees surrounding Rodney Stanfill's home. Scraps, limbs and firewood still litter his land.

"They're all just stumps," Stanfill said. "That's all that's left on 'em. We lost 10 of those."

Stanfill said the trees were planted about 20 years ago.

"Years of growth damaged," said Kris Williams, Ozark Electric district manager. "Years of progress destroyed by Mother Nature.

"You rarely see a storm come in and wipe out your whole system, a system that took 70 years to build."

Efforts to get power restored have required about 17 days of around-the-clock work, Ozark Electric employee Mike Kindle said.

"We roughly have 1700 miles of line, which is equivalent in walking from here to San Francisco, California," Williams said. "So we have a lot of line that we have to restore, to get back up to get built. Pretty much it was all knocked down from the ice storm."

But Westville is grateful for the hours the electric company has put in to keep the town running.

"Everything's working out good now," Kindle said. "Making everybody happy."

The ice storm ravaged in a hurry, but the cleanup is long and slow. Power is restored one day at a time, and Rodney is picking up the tree limbs one branch at a time.

Ozark Electric officials say they have crews working around the clock and through the weekend.

About 80 households and businesses are still without power, but they are optimistic power will be restored by Sunday.