As power is being restored to thousands of residents who lost electricity from the recent severe storm that ripped through the area, several shelters are providing a break from the heat for those who remain without service.
Randolph County Office of Emergency Management Director Marvin Hill described the situation in the county as "chaotic" in some places.
"Nothing gets done, but there is a lot of talking," Hill told The Inter-Mountain on Thursday. "We are starting to recover. The southern part of the county is still without power and there are other small pockets throughout the county."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
Tygart Valley Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Ryan Currence prepares food and water Thursday at the fire department, which is serving as a cooling station. The facility was made available to those without electricity Wednesday and Thursday. The shelter will open today if there is still a need.
There have been several "cooling stations" set up throughout the county where residents can escape the heat and obtain food and water. In a public service announcement, Hill said the Mill Creek and Harding-Jimtown-Norton public service districts remain under a boil-water advisory until further notice. Hill said residents should conserve water until all the water storage tanks have been filled.
Cooling stations are open at Camp Pioneer near Beverly, the Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department, Tygarts Valley High/Middle School in Mill Creek, the Tygart Valley Volunteer Fire Department in Dailey and the Valley Head Volunteer Fire Department.
Tygart Valley Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Ryan Currence said 40 to 50 people used the facility on Independence Day to escape the heat and to get a meal. On Thursday, members of the fire department went out along the back roads in their area to tell residents about the shelter.
The following is local shelter information as of presstime, according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office:
Ellamore Fire Department
Tygarts Valley High/Middle School
Tygart Valley Volunteer Fire Department
Valley Head Volunteer Fire Department
West Virginia Wesleyan College gymnasium
Belington Church of Nazarene
Brandywine Fire Department
Upper Tract Fire Department Training Center
Circleville Fire Department
Seneca Fire Department
Franklin Community Building
Marlinton Fire Department
Cass Community Center
Hillsboro Fire Department
TVVFD Board of Directors member Ken Elbon was on scene at the shelter prepared to make food and help residents with water at the shelter.
"The people needing the help do not have the service like radios and Internet," he said. "It is quite a disaster from the standpoint that nearly the entire state was wiped out."
He said the shelter was open Wednesday morning through midnight.
"Everyone is welcome," he said. "If there is a need, come to the station."
TVVFD Assistant Chief Bob Elbon spent part of the day on the road informing residents of the shelter. Elbon said there needs to be better communication with the Office of Emergency Management to better assist people in the area.
"I had to stop by and talk to them face to face," he said. "The OEM hasn't communicated with us well. We definitely need better communication."
Elbon said the department has air conditioning and can take care of 30 to 40 people at one time.
"We have sandwiches and water available," he said. "We are not sure if we will be open on Friday, if there is a need we will open."
As of presstime, there were still several thousand FirstEnergy customers without electricity in the area. FirstEnergy reported at 4 p.m. Thursday there were still 1,753 customers without power in Randolph County.
Other counties outages are as follows:
- Barbour: 1,557
- Upshur: 4,322
- Tucker: 183
- Lewis: 4,019
- Pocahontas: 4,338
- Pendleton: 1,268
- Hardy: 10
- Grant: 109.