Officials see damage left by storm

Downed trees problem in Herald Harbor

10,300 without power

`Extreme frustration'

Glendening to use findings to decide on federal disaster aid

September 21, 1999|By Rachel D. Mansour | Rachel D. Mansour,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Representatives from state and federal agencies toured Anne Arundel County yesterday with local officials to survey the mess left by Hurricane Floyd.

They found a big one in the Herald Harbor neighborhood, where electrical wires were tangled, a telephone pole lay toppled by a 60-foot oak tree and several houses had gaping holes in their roofs.

"I feel helpless right now," said County Executive Janet S. Owens, who was accompanying officials from the federal and state emergency management agencies and the federal Small Business Administration. "I wish I could pick up a chain saw."

Anne Arundel was the first stop on a Floyd tour for the federal and state officials. Similar inspections are scheduled today in Carroll, Cecil, Charles and Queen Anne's counties, all of which were hit hard by the storm, said Quentin Banks, spokesman for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

A damage report was to be completed by tomorrow for Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who will decide whether to apply for federal disaster assistance, Banks said.

At Herald Harbor and elsewhere, the officials saw damage to homes, vehicles, businesses, churches and county facilities -- even a firetruck that officials say was totaled Thursday when the driver swerved into a ditch to avoid a fallen tree.

No one was hurt in the accident, but the $260,000 truck from Jones Station will have to be replaced by the county government, said Anne Arundel administration spokesman Andrew C. Carpenter.

Carpenter said two teams toured the county, one focusing on damage to private property, the other on public property including schools, parks and roads.

Four Anne Arundel schools -- Eastport, Georgetown East, Jones and Maryland City elementaries -- remained closed yesterday because they lacked electricity. They are to reopen today.

By 9 p.m. yesterday, 10,300 homes and businesses remained without power, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

Owens said county residents affected by power problems yesterday were feeling "extreme frustration" and that county workers could do nothing to restore the electricity or to remove the trees from tangled wires without help from BGE.

Tall old trees felled by the storm caused much of the costly damage in Anne Arundel.

A crew from Garrison's Contracting Inc. was patching the huge hole in a house on Diggs Road in Herald Harbor, near Crownsville, caused by a poplar tree 30 inches in diameter that fell onto the roof, snapping rafters in half and landing on the living room floor. Garrison Johnson, the contractor, said no one was home when the tree fell.

"Never before have I seen this much damage from a tree," Johnson said.

His crew was using generators.

The touring group visited Bill and Sharon Massina on North Riverside Drive. The couple said they were sitting in their home Thursday thinking they had escaped the worst of the storm until they saw a flash and heard a tree crack. They found their 1995 Toyota Camry crushed under a toppled 60-foot oak.

Monika Kennedy, who lives on Diggs Road, said she was sitting in her first-floor study when she saw three sections of a 70-foot poplar falling toward the roof.

A BGE crew arrived in the neighborhood about 1 p.m., as the damage-assessment team was finishing its tour, to deal with the damage left by a toppled oak at Redwood Trail and Hall Road, including an uprooted telephone pole and a snapped lamppost.

Redwood Trail had been impassable for vehicles since the storm because of the wires that came down with the tree.

Pauline Sterling, 80, who lives on Redwood Trail, was thankful that the telephone pole had tipped into the street instead of her back yard. But some of the cables and electrical wires were ripped from the side of her house.

She said she had been going to bed at dusk because she had no power.

Yesterday afternoon, her power was restored.

Pub Date: 9/21/99

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