Saturday, April 10, 1999

Volunteers grab chain saws, mops as workers untangle wires

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Firefighter Julie Knose brushes debris from Main Street in Addyston.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        Long before some in the city even ate breakfast Friday morning, residents of Blue Ash, Montgomery and other tornado-ravaged areas had started the arduous task of cleaning up from the killer storm that had hit at dawn.

        Chain saws roared, as landscaping crews cleared trees from roads, lawns and roofs.

        Besides emergency crews, utility workers were the only people permitted on many streets in affected areas. Workers raced to remove dangerous downed lines and restore power and telephone service.

        Building inspectors in hard hats surveyed the destruction, spray-painting Xs or posting signs to mark unsteady structures. Insurance workers also walked some neighborhoods.

        For those who were harder hit, the cleanup promises to be a long job. But that job may be made shorter by the countless offers to help from volunteers, social-service agencies say.

        The American Red Cross-Cincinnati Area Chapter is distributing kits containing mops, brooms, bleach, rags and other cleanup materials to tornado victims, spokeswoman Barbara Giles said.

        Anticipating traffic tie-ups from gawkers, the Red Cross is asking cleanup volunteers to stay away from the ravaged areas unless they are part of an organized effort led by a church, social service agency or other group.

        “We've got more volunteers calling than we need right now,” Ms. Giles said.

        Tornado victims and volunteers also should proceed cautiously in ravaged areas, because downed power lines, structural damage and other destruction may pose safety risks, she added.

        In Vera Bauer's front yard in Blue Ash, landscapers used chain saws to make slow but steady progress at cleaning up the debris on lawns they just days ago manicured to lush green perfection.

        The storm had snapped a 50-year-old tree on her Kenwood Road property in half. The fierce winds, strangely, did not damage her home.

        “My husband's in the hospi tal from a stroke he had last week, and I don't want to bring him home, because this could give him a heart attack,” Ms. Bauer said, gesturing to the broken tree.


Hope emerges from the rubble
Sirens worked, but some slept through
Families flew from their beds
Bengals coach: 'God's hand on me'
Driver got upside-down trip on freeway median
Photographer encounters death, devastation
House is a cheap price to pay for life
Community safe, serene and vulnerable
In Addyston and Ripley County, some feel blessed just to be alive
Survivors eager to swap stories
Two died in field; two died on roads
Adjusters quick to arrive at disaster
To file a claim
Dealing with storm aftermath
Don't rush repairs after storm
Tips to picking a contractor
Kids need help to overcome grief, fears
Talking to kids
Phones, power out until Sunday
Rescue team did tough job
Storm could spur support for tax levy
Storms' memories linger after damage is repaired
Mobilization was instant
Tornado tales
TV/radio stations had reason to boast
- Volunteers grab chain saws, mops as workers untangle wires
At least 7 businesses destroyed
911 calls reveal confusion, fear