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Tornado Debris Clearing Continues in Campbell and Claiborne Counties

Tuesday, August 05, 2014 | 04:24am

A multi-department task force of local and state agencies cleared 322 cubic yards of debris during its first day of operation on Mon. Aug. 4, 2014 in Campbell County.

The amount of debris removed Monday would equal a 12-inch block of material stretching 1.6 miles.

“We’re very pleased with the progress we made the first day, and we are very grateful for the help our county has received from so many agencies,” said David Breeding, director of Claiborne County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (CCOEMHS).  “We still have much to do to help our neighbors and county recover from the damage, but we’re going to stay with it until the work is complete.”

Vegetative debris from the clean-up is being burned at an approved site in Claiborne County.  Debris such as treated construction material, destroyed appliances and masonry products is being sent to a local landfill for processing. 

Claiborne County EMA is reminding local residents that they may see smoke coming from the debris burn site and to not be alarmed.  Also, Campbell County and Claiborne County residents only with damage can call 423-626-9617. 

Monetary donations for the relief effort can be made to the American Red Cross by texting “redcross” to 90999 and to the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Organization, http://www.baptistrelief.org

The task force’s creation is the result of damage an EF-3 tornado caused in Claiborne and Campbell counties on July 27, 2014.  The National Weather Service estimated the EF-3 tornado had sustained winds between 140 and 150 m.p.h.  The tornado destroyed 11 homes and two businesses in Claiborne County.  Campbell County reported two homes destroyed.

“TEMA’s purpose is to serve the counties who need our assistance during times of crisis and emergency,” said Bill Worth, TEMA’s East Region director.  “When you have counties at the height of distress from disaster, it is inspiring to see the cooperative working relationship among so many dedicated state and local agencies.“

  The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is coordinating several state departments and agencies to clean-up storm debris from public right-of-ways in the affected counties. 

Departments and agencies involved in the task force include:

•        Claiborne County Emergency Management Agency

•        Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office

•        Claiborne County Emergency Communications District

•        Campbell County Emergency Management Agency

•        Speedwell Volunteer Fire Department

•        Tennessee Department of Military (TEMA, Tennessee National Guard)

•        Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)

•        Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security (Tennessee Highway Patrol)

•        Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC)

•        Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry

•        Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency

Debris removal teams are divided into four forces: three comprised of Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and Tennessee Division of Forestry; and, one team comprised of Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Between local and state agencies, and volunteer organizations, approximately 200 personnel are working on the debris mission in Claiborne and Campbell counties.