Crews In Moore Face Health Hazards During Cleanup Process

Monday, June 10th 2013, 8:49 pm
By: News 9

It's been three weeks since a deadly EF5 tornado through Moore, and now, health risks and hot weather pose a threat for cleanup crews.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Moore homes are being bulldozed daily, so clean-up crews risk working through thick dust, mold, loose nails and fallen debris.

Volunteers from Samaritan's Purse are clearing debris in a neighborhood off Telephone Road and say it's no picnic.

"You open a refrigerator that's been down for like three weeks, it's like yea, bagels don't smell like bagels anymore, the smells are real interesting, especially with all the mold," says Dave Coussirat, Samaritan's Purse volunteer.

"Each week it sits out here in the sun, and then storm after storms rolls through after that."

Food is continuing to rot in warm temperatures, so the Oklahoma City-County Health Department advises crews to wear gloves and a mask,

"It's going to be attracting rats and flies, and any time those are around, there's a chance for disease to spread to people," said Daniel DeGues, Public Health Specialist for Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

Less than one hundred people are without power in Moore. DeGues says unless you're using dry ice, throw out the food in your fridge if the temperature gets above 41 degrees or above 0 in your freezer.

More than 23,000 tons of trash have been hauled off to dump sites, and city officials want to get neighborhoods cleared as soon as possible to decrease health risks.

"We want to give everybody time to get it down, you know we don't want to push people but at the same time, we want to get it down as fast as we can," said Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis.

Lewis urges residents to make sure debris are moved as close to the curb as possible in order for city trucks to do a swift pick up.

Coussirat drives up from Dallas every week to clean up Moore neighborhoods with his daughter. He says despite the potential safety and health risks, helping a community in need is worth it.

"You know there's little things like ammunition and propane you come across, so there are hazards out there," Coussirat said. "But you know, people have been through so much, it's just one of those things you deal with."