Debris Still Piling Up 3 Weeks After Storms
By Adrianna Iwasinski, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- There's a growing concern among residents about the fire danger of the piles of debris from severe storms earlier this month.
Numerous metro residents said they are frustrated because it has been three weeks since a tornado outbreak ripped through their southeast Oklahoma City neighborhood and storm debris is still lining the streets.
"I was told it was to be picked up. Heard rumors last Wednesday it would be picked up. It's dangerous to be sitting on the curb this long," said Marcheta Velasco, a resident cleaning up debris.
Piles are up to six feet high along the streets of the Deerfield Estates neighborhood. The stacks and stacks of tree limbs have created a makeshift fence along the curbs, and it is starting to dry out.
"Yeah it's dry. It's dry, so yeah, I'd like to get it gone. There's enough timber here to cause more problems. We've already experienced a tornado. We don't need to deal with a fire too," said Doug Calhoun, who wants debris picked up in the neighborhood.
But despite how dry the tree limbs look, Fire Chief Richard Kelley said there is no need for concern.
"You still have some moisture in them. Even though they are dying they still will have some moisture into them. As we see them stay out over longer periods of time they do dry out. The humidity in them starts to decrease and they can become a fire hazard, but right now as long as the city is getting out there and doing that and getting aggressive in that and pick that stuff up then we will start moving in a good direction," said Oklahoma City Fire Chief Richard Kelley.
The city has contracted a group that will start picking up debris as soon as this Tuesday, but officials said it will take about four weeks to cover all the neighborhoods hit by the May 10 tornado.
The special pickup service will only be provided in the areas within and immediately adjacent to the tornado paths. Those who still have questions are encouraged to call the city on Tuesday.
- Only damaged trees and brush debris will be collected
- Storm-damaged trees and brush will not be collected with bulk waste.
- Removal of the remaining structure of a damaged house and other storm debris is the responsibility of the homeowner and his or her insurance company.