Multiple City of Greenville departments came together to ensure the safety of the community and its residents before, during and after the effects of Hurricane Dorian were felt in eastern North Carolina.
East Carolina University News Services released a statement on Friday regarding campus-clean up efforts following Hurricane Dorian, saying cleanup was underway and both main and the health sciences campus experienced minor damage.
The press release said there were leaks in some campus buildings, flooding in “flood prone” parking lots and roadways as well as fallen tree limbs which were the most commonly reported signs of damage.
“While we are mindful of the devastation that Hurricane Dorian brought to many communities, we are grateful that ECU has survived the worst of the storm in fairly good shape,” Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach said in the issued ECU News Services press release. “I am especially grateful to our facilities and grounds staff and ECU Police for their hard work before, during and after the storm to prepare us all and keep us safe. While we canceled classes, our dining and residential staff are serving students as we recover.”
Greenville Fire/Rescue (GFR) Chief Eric Griffin said GFR aided in coordinating the emergency responses for the city during the hurricane. Greenville’s emergency operations center was opened for the storm which involved core city departments, Griffin said.
GFR was fully staffed during Hurricane Dorian and had two additional units specifically including a swift-water rescue team and a rescue team, Griffin said.
“When I say fully staffed that means we had eight EMS units in service, ambulances in services as well as nine firetrucks in service all fully staffed as well, and then we up-staffed our swift-water rescue team as well as a rescue compliment meaning that we were quick to respond to just about anything that became an emergency in the city,” Griffin said.
There were EMS calls during the time Hurricane Dorian was impacting Greenville, however none of the calls were related to the tropical storm, Griffin said. There were fire calls during the storm but none of the calls were actual fires when GFR arrived on the scene, Griffin said.
GFR had to respond to down power lines, trees that had fallen in roadways and a tree that had struck a house, Griffin said.
Griffin said the swift-water rescue team was not needed at any point during the storm in Greenville. He said this was due to people respecting the curfew the city set for 10 p.m. on Thursday. People also stayed out of the water when there was flooding which prevented the need for swift water rescue teams, Griffin said.
Additionally, citizens keeping themselves safe during the storm allowed city agencies to remain safe during the storm, Griffin said.
“I think it was a great response from the community as well as the emergency services. I think that the management of the city did a great job ensuring that they enacted a curfew at the perfect time that had minimal impact and people were able to help us not to have, to have emergencies, which was great,” Griffin said.
GFR is working to get its equipment back in service after the storm, Griffin said. Public works began the storm cleanup Friday morning and were cleaning the streets, storm drains, streets and debris from the storm, he said.
In an emailed statement to The East Carolinian, Director of Public Works Kevin Mulligan said all Greenville city departments were involved in preparing for the storm.
“The clean-up began early this (Friday) morning with Public Works, Parks and crews from GUC (Greenville Utilities Commission) removing fallen trees, street sweeping and the reopening of closed roads,” Mulligan said.
On Saturday, Public Works continued with storm clean up and also began removing vegetative debris accumulated from Hurricane Dorian, Mulligan said. He expects storm clean up to continue throughout the week, he said.
Before the hurricane, the City of Greenville posted on its Twitter account that storm drains were being cleaned by city crews ahead of the storm.
City crews are working today in preparation for #HurricaneDorian, which may head our way later this week. Workers have been clearing debris from the streets and storm drains. We will continue to monitor the storm and make necessary preparations as the week rolls on. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/RqXmCizNUU— City of Greenville (@GreenvilleNC) September 2, 2019
“The combination of cleaning our drains/ditches year-round as well as multiple departments helping to clean catch basins the week before (the storm) proved very beneficial. Street flooding was minimized through these efforts,” Mulligan said.
The City of Greenville posted on its Twitter account on Friday that there were road closures on 14th Street from Charles Street to West Rock Spring Road; Evans Street from Arlington Boulevard to Deck Street and the southbound lanes of Charles Street between 14th Street and Ficklen Drive.
ROAD CLOSURES as of 5:30am: If you must go out, avoid these areas & never drive thru flooded roadways. - 14th St closed from Charles St to West Rock Spring Rd- Evans St closed from Arlington Blvd to Deck St- Southbound lanes of Charles St closed between 14th St & Ficklin Dr pic.twitter.com/4zv6SAEwyh— City of Greenville (@GreenvilleNC) September 6, 2019
In an emailed statement to The East Carolinian, Greenville Police Department PIO, Kristen Hunter said the roads were closed due to high water but were opened later in the day on Friday.
“GPD provided staffing at area shelters throughout the storm, placed barricades and monitored areas for potential road closures, staffed the City’s Emergency Operations Center, and responded to regular calls for service throughout the duration of the storm,” Hunter said.