News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Besides a couple twigs and leaves, Douglas Moody finally has a clean yard.
"The pile was about as tall as me. It was about six foot tall, and it went from my neighbors driveway all the way to mine,” says Moody, who lives in the Gatewood Subdivision in South Aiken.
Thanks to workers in the neighborhood, that pile, and many others across the City of Aiken, are disappearing.
"We just appreciate the help, because I tell you, the people we've got here are doing a great job, but there's just not enough of them to clean all this up,” he says.
Which is why the City of Aiken has brought in help from across the state. Several crews from Lexington, Clinton, even as far away as Rock Hill cleared pile after pile in the Gatewood subdivision today. Another crew from Greenwood worked on Kalmia Hill.
"They feel sorry for us. They say every street they've seen has just piled up. I actually heard them talking to their supervisor back home, and they basically said we were a disaster,” says Public Services Supervisor Sarah Herring.
Herring says Aiken has six trucks with the capability of scooping up large piles of vegetative debris. But with the additional crews helping, that number has doubled.
"For them to want to be here. I mean, they were very passionate about coming and helping us, because they know how critical this kind of thing is,” she says.
Herring says Aiken already had contracts drawn up for mutual aid, but this was the first time the city had to call for it.
Meanwhile, workers from near and far continue a massive clean-up effort.
"The City, the citizens, the business owners, the workers, you name it, everybody's come together and is working together to get this done,” says Herring.
"I guess the only thing you can do about this thing is just clean it up as you go. It might happen again, but if it does, we'll do the same thing,” adds Moody.
Governor Nikki Haley has lifted the ‘State of Emergency’ declaration for South Carolina. The city and county say they're still waiting for a possible 'Major Disaster' declaration from FEMA and President Barack Obama. They need that declaration to pay for a lot of the work. County Administrator Clay Killian expects FEMA assessors to be in Aiken County as soon as Thursday.