County sustains minimal damage

Published 9:15 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

A severe storm swept through Chilton County Sunday night, causing downed trees and downed power lines in the western part of the county.

Several trees were down in Maplesville, in the downtown business district and across the railroad tracks near downtown. Similar damage was reported in Stanton.

“Other than that, we don’t have any damage at all,” Chilton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Bill Collum said Monday.

At least two trees fell on power lines in the Maplesville area, causing 456 reported power outages, Alabama Power spokesperson Jan Ellis confirmed. The first call was received about 7:20 p.m., and crews worked to restore power to the affected customers.

“The outage lasted about four hours,” Ellis said.

Lightning caused about 30 power outages in the Verbena area, Ellis added, and those customers lost power for about 45 minutes.

Local shelters housed many residents during the storm, including the shelter located in Clanton City Hall. Column estimated there were 120 or more people at the Clanton shelter.

“The parking lot was packed,” he said.

In addition, the Maplesville community shelter reportedly housed a record 75 people, and the West Chilton shelter housed between 50 and 70 people. The Enterprise area shelter was also in use.

Survey crews with the National Weather Service spent a large part of the day assessing damage in areas that were hit harder than Chilton County. NWS is continuing to investigate damage throughout the state, including that in Maplesville.

Maplesville Mayor Kurt Wallace thanked local citizens, police and fire department volunteers who helped remove trees and debris from the highway during the storm.

“Many of them left their families to go out into the rain and wind to ensure the highways were safe for travelers and to make sure the storm shelter was open and someone was there to provide updated weather information, comfort, and basic necessities for local families, as well as some total strangers that were traveling to Birmingham,” he said. “It’s during times of trouble that we really see the character of the people that live in our small community. We are truly blessed to have this type of ‘family’ in our town.”