Cumberland Times-News

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November 2, 2012

Garrett recovery speeds up

No one injured in roof collapse

OAKLAND — Storm recovery efforts in storm-scarred Garrett County continued in earnest on Friday with a focus of checking  the well-being of residents in remote areas, restoring electrical outages for thousands of county residents and opening county roadways still blocked by downed trees and power lines.

Garrett County 911 calls, including a report of a roof collapse of a business in Mountain Lake Park, were being handled Friday by the Allegany County 911 center at Constitution Park in Cumberland. The business was closed at the time due to a power outage.

No injuries were reported in the 9:30 a.m. incident at the Grand Central Home Furnishings store at 58 West Francis Sanders Drive.

A natural gas leak was reported there as a result of the roof collapse, but was quickly controlled by first-responders.

“This is devastating. We lost a lot of merchandise,” said Shane Grady, who has owned and operated the business since 2005. The company also operates from a second location at the Dry Dock Plaza at Deep Creek Lake and can be contacted at 301-387-2278.

Grady estimated the loss of merchandise at $600,000. No estimates of the damages to the 16,000-square-foot building could be made by later in the day and the building was determined to be unsafe to enter.

Grady said at least half of the roof collapsed was due to heavy wet snow that apparently drifted to one side of the roof. “We had about 4 feet of snow two years ago and didn’t have any problems,” he said.

Five full-time and two part-time employees operated the business that was founded in 1992.

Four task force groups have been designated and deployed throughout the county to check the well-being of county residents.

Each task force consists of a supervisor and additional staff comprised of law enforcement, EMS, National Guard and saw teams. Maryland State Police medevac helicopter also assisted in the storm recovery efforts.

As of Friday evening, about 9,000 Potomac Edison customers remained without service in Garrett County, along with about 350 in Allegany County.

Potomac Edison personnel continued working closely with Garrett County Roads personnel and others to remove downed trees and electrical lines and open county roads. Extensive government, private sector and volunteer resources have been at work in the county since superstorm Sandy and a winter storm system combined to dump 30 inches of heavy wet snow throughout the county.

Garrett County citizens are encouraged to contact the Community Help Line for information and assistance with non-life threatening issues.  Authorities ask residents to not call 9-1-1 Communications for information on road conditions or electric status.  A community help line has been established to receive non-emergency, weather-related calls at 1-888-756-7836.

County-managed shelters have been opened at Southern Rescue Squad, 200 Baltimore Ave. in Mountain Lake Park and at the Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department at Walnut and Park streets in Friendsville.

County officials cautioned residents with power lines down and connected to their home to turn off their main breaker. Use of generators must be done only with adequate ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators and other gas-operated devices should not be used in an attached garage.

Officials also urged county residents to check on their neighbors, especially senior citizens with special needs. Checks should also be made on pets and livestock, officials said.

Contact Jeffery Alderton at jladerton@times-news.com.

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