March 5, 2007
Mitchell County - - About 50 homes in Mitchell County were damaged during last week's violent storms. Monday, clean-up crews remain hard at work getting debris cleared out of yards and trees off of roof tops.
Carl Simpson watches the progress from his front porch.
"It is fantastic."
He can't help but recall that frightening moment that got things the way they are now. He and his wife were hiding in the bathroom.
"The dog was between my wife's legs and she was holding on to him and holding on to me and I was leading off of the toilet holding on to her and the wheelchair was out in the hallway."
Trees were everywhere and his wheelchair couldn't roll through the debris. A church came to help.
"One up in Putney came down with a bunch of teenagers yesterday and cleared us out a path around the house so I can roll and actually see the damage."
Mitchell County work crews and state prisoners are picking up the rest.
"We're actually trying to clean up get these folks where they can get in and out of their houses. Trying to get it off their houses so if they got anything inside, they can still salvage it without it getting destroyed," says Corrections Officer Robert Woeller.
They've worked since the storm hit and they'll be at it for a while. The damage across Mitchell County is extensive. On Stagecoach road, many homes have major damage. Off US 19, you can even see where the wind knocked down pecan trees. Homes off Gravell Hill Road were badly hit. Even homes off Georgia 3 in Baconton.
"You can tell the place is sort of a mess. It tore up a closet through there," Simpson says about his home. He is waiting for the day things can get back to normal.
"It's scary as the devil."
But he waits patiently, along with his wife, as workers clean things up piece by piece.
Officers with Mitchell County's Correctional Institute say they will continue working to help the tornado victims until the clean up is complete.
It's a similar story for many other families in Mitchell County who spent the day cleaning up storm damage.
The Williams Family made it a family project. They took off of work to clear trees from their home. The storm left a hole in their roof, it cracked walls and pushed out windows.
They're determined to get through.
"That's my husband Donnel Williams and that's my son Keith Williams. They are just trying to cut some of the tree away so when the guys from the county get ready to move it, it wont cause any more damage to the house," Gloria Williams says.
Once they get the trees off of their roof and cut down some of the logs, work crews have agreed to take care of the rest. Many families in Mitchell County left in the dark, now have their power back.
Mitchell EMC brought in extra crews from Central Georgia and other contracted companies to help restore power to the 3,500 homes whose power was knocked off after the tornado.
Electric crews say just about everyone in Mitchell County once again has electric service.
"We have the power restored to the homes that's able to get power and the ones that's damaged beyond repair, we have to leave them off and we'll get them in service as soon as the repairs are made," Walter Vickers of EMC says.
He says power to about 20 or so homes has not been restored.