‘Awesome’ citizens aid each other during Ivan

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 19, 2004

Mayor James Perkins, Jr. said he was impressed with the way Selmians came together during the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan to help each other during a time of crisis.

“We have awesome citizens here,” Perkins said. “The response from people when others needed help was really amazing.”

The mayor said despite the large amount of damaged caused by high winds and fallen trees, there were no reported injuries or deaths caused by the storm.

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“The work done in preparation for and during the hurricane was extraordinary,” Perkins said. “Chief (Henry) Allen and Chief (Robert) Green did an excellent job in coordination and being in the storm.”

The mayor said he was most impressed with the Public Works Department head Tommy Smith and his crew, who managed to have most of the streets clear of debris before dark on Thursday.

“Immediately following the storm Public Works was called to start the clean up,” Perkins said Friday. “Communications was tough during the storm, and we still have a lot of work to do.”

Smith said his crews were ready to work early Thursday morning, but they quickly realized there was nothing they could do during the pounding wind and rain.

“We were finally able to come out around 1 p.m. to begin clean up,” Smith said. “There are several trees down on power lines that we have to be careful about. We are working with Alabama Power to help cut down those trees.”

Smith said he also had his cemetery crews working to clear debris from Selma’s cemeteries.

Public Works is only responsible for clearing city property, but Perkins decided during the Friday department head meeting that crews could cut down trees on private property in cases of immediate danger.

“I want to remind citizens to not drive around unless necessary so our guys can get their work done,” Perkins said.

City Hall and other government buildings remained closed on Friday, but Perkins said the city will re-open on Monday. Trash and other debris will also be picked up Monday.

Perkins also wanted to remind citizens that Selma had been declared a state of emergency, making price gouging illegal.

Residents could report incidents of price gouging to the Selma Police at 874-6611.