During last week’s ice episode with the entire county smothered in snow and ice, along with Arctic-like temperatures, first responders continued battling the elements while protecting and serving.
According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, more than 2.5 inches of snow and ice fell on Grenada County and according to one law enforcement officer, residents did extremely well under the conditions.
“Compared to ice storms in the past, I think the public did extremely well in Grenada,” Sheriff Rolando Fair said Monday morning. “Last week was bad. Not 1994 or 1998 when people were losing lives.”
The majority of the calls that the sheriff’s office responded to last week were traffic mishaps due to the snow and ice. Fair said none of the accidents were life threatening, simply situations where motorist slid off the road.
“We knew that we were going to face not only the snow and ice, but extremely cold weather,” Fair said. “What we did was canceled our days off for the deputies. We did that and we put them in zones, six-man crews that patrolled only a few miles from their homes. It went well.”
The Grenada Police Department and its officers also dealt with snow and ice. The most serious incident was a multi-car pile up on Cecil Shelton Drive last Thursday. Cecil Shelton Drive remained slick with slowly melting ice for much of the week.
“We didn’t have any injuries and we thank the citizens for their patience during that episode,” Chief George Douglas said. “What we saw was citizen cooperation, and throughout the city, we saw people assisting one another.”
Douglas said the Grenada Street Department, County Supervisor Darrell Robinson and the Mississippi Department of Transportation did a good job of helping keep roads clear, so that officers could do the better job patrolling.
“By them doing that, it was a little safer for our uniformed officers on the streets,” Douglas said.
Firefighters, throughout the year, go through hours of training, but Fire Chief Ronnie Willis said ice is a different thing.
The Grenada Fire Department responded to six residential fires during the episode, but Willis said none of the blazes turned out to be a total home loss.
“There were two in particular, a fire on Third Street and one on Kennedy Circle,” Willis said. “The fire on Third Street was an apartment where one of the rooms received extensive damage.”
Willis said no firefighters were injured, but there were a few slips and falls due to all of the ice.
“You can’t train for that ice,” Willis said. “There was so much of it out there on those runs. You just have to take extreme caution.”
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency reported receiving damage reports on 10 homes and two businesses in Grenada County. Grenada County EMA Director Trebia Rodgers said the majority of those damages were from frozen water pipes bursting.
“One of the businesses was a local nursing home and the other was a City of Grenada building,” Rodgers said. “Pipes burst in both those buildings causing damage.”
Rodgers said even with all of the snow and ice, Grenada County was fortunate compared surrounding counties.
“The power outages in the other counties were far higher than what we experienced,” Rodgers said. “1,000 here, 800 there, and Attala County was hit extremely hard.”
As far as state and federal assistance goes, Rodgers said she expects an emergency declaration, but Grenada County will have to meet a certain criteria.
“We have to meet a $100,000 threshold,” she concluded. “So, for that to happen, we need people to report their damages to us. We have to know about the damages.”