Marlinton narrowly skirts disaster
Marlinton Mayor Joe Smith said the town didn't suffer nearly as badly as other parts of Pocahontas County.
"Not a lot of damage," reported Smith. "We're in the process of picking up brush, that could take a week or more hauling it away for the residents."
Smith said a lot of the limbs were on private property, but the town will be picking it up anyway.
"We're obligated morally to do things like that," explained Smith. "Maybe not legally but we've got so many senior citizens and elderly folks that might not have the means to do it. We spent three days last week with a major clean up at the cemetery. It's looking real good, they're up there hand-raking it right now."
Smith said, generally speaking, the town is in real good shape and requested residents to leave brush piles curbside for pick up.
Smith said he hasn't heard of any deaths or injuries attributed to the storm, and no reports of looting or theft.
"Usually there is in this type of situation, but I haven't heard of anything from the State Police," Smith said. "They didn't report anything out of the ordinary. Some harsh words were exchanged over gas last weekend, but that's about it."
Smith said he was pleased with interim Office of Emergency Services Director Shawn Dunbrack's performance throughout the incident.
"I'm very impressed with Shawn Dunbrack's capabilities," Smith commented. "He's very qualified to do that job. I hear they put him in that position [OES director] temporarily, but I would hope they would highly consider him for that job."
Smith said he was also impressed with the sheriff's department and the Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department.
"They put in a lot of long hours. On Friday when the thing originally hit, the deputies started patrolling the streets with their lights on, putting flares out where there were lines down and trees down. That impressed me. At that point in time, there was no direction given by anybody. Nobody realized how bad it was. And of course the fire department here in town did a fabulous job," Smith said.
Smith said the town was able to keep its water plant operating without too much trouble.
"We didn't lose water, that was a big thing and we were able to have water available to outlying areas.
I got criticized because we weren't giving it away. Under an emergency, it can't be free though. If there was a disaster declaration then we could've been reimbursed for it, but we have to account for our water under an emergency," the mayor said.
Dale McKenney, chief water plant operator, said the power went out but operators got their portable generator hooked up.
"We didn't run out of water, no boil water advisory, that's one good thing. I just hope I get water back at my house today," joked McKenney.
"Overall, Marlinton came through this smelling like a rose compared to other areas of the county," said Smith.