After the storm: Maumelle digs out

After last week’s record-breaking winter storms, it kept city of Maumelle employees on their toes and out on the snowy streets, doing what they could, said Mayor Caleb Norris.

“The police department had 128 calls for service,” Norris said but explained that wasn’t necessarily crime reports but more like, “motorist assists.”

“The fire department had 84 calls for service,” Norris said. “We had two structure fires and one vehicle fire. Of the structure fires, at least one was a total loss and of those 84, 29 of those were medical calls.”

While police and fire were busy, it was the street department that was hopping.

“It is more than the street department,” Norris said. “We call it the ‘Snow Crew’ because it is more than the street department as we roll some of our sanitation drivers in as they’re not hauling trash.”

The Snow Crew, Norris said, were, essentially, working the length of the storm.

“They were basically running 24/seven,” Norris said. “Eight hours on, eight hours off and we've got a bunk room in the Public Works building where they slept, so for almost a week they didn't need to go home they were just here.”

Norris said a total of 14 were on the Snow Crew and their primary focuses were sanding, plowing and salting the city’s busier streets “followed by the hills, although we couldn’t always get to those hilly streets because those are also the most unsafe for the trucks.”

Norris said a total of four trucks were deployed at the start of the storm but that number had dwindled to one because of vehicle breakdowns and a lack of spare parts.

“They busted their rear ends,” Norris said of the Snow Crew.

The other thing the storm did last week was disrupt garbage pickup but Norris said the city has a plan for that.

“If your bin is full,” Norris said. “Put the extra bags out beside the bin and it will all be picked up. This has the potential to really slow us down some, so if we’re running behind on sanitation routes, don’t worry about it, we’ll get to it.”

Norris said the plan was to run trash and recycling pickups this week, on the normal day, but, “we are not necessarily anticipating yard waste pickup this week.”

The community effort, Norris said, was impressive in response to the storms.

“We had Firefighters helping folks with leaky faucets and pipes that burst,” Norris said. “We had police officers who were giving medical personnel rides to their workplaces because they couldn’t drive themselves.”

At City Hall, “we had some folks in the administrative level, who were still showing up every day to make sure people got paid.”

“You also had some residents like Hall Ramsey and he was just out pulling people out of ditches,” Norris said. “Giving people rides. Going grocery shopping for those who couldn’t do it. There was him and other folks who were going above and beyond to help their neighbors.”

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