December 28, 1996 in Idaho

Boundary County In State Of Emergency Batt Dispatches National Guard To Help Shovel Snow Off Schools

Ken Olsen The Associated Press And Staff Writer Su Staff writer
 
Tags:weather

Two months of snow, collapsing buildings and the danger of schools joining the casualty list prompted Gov. Phil Batt to declare a state of emergency for Boundary County.

“The county just couldn’t keep up with the workload,” said John Cline, state disaster services director. “In an effort to remove snow from roads and other public facilities, they deployed county employees, volunteers and hired contractors. There was finally just too much snow.”

About 25 National Guard troops are being dispatched to help shovel the roofs of seven schools, said Bob Graham, disaster coordinator for the county. Only the junior high doesn’t require some relief from the 4-1/2-foot accumulation of snow and ice.

The Guard and volunteers were to start with the high school this morning and then move to the other schools. That may not be soon.

The school district believes “it will take the entire National Guard four days to clear the high school,” Graham said.

Batt committed the Guard for a few days but county commissioners will reassess the progress this afternoon and may ask for more help. Most of the troops were expected to come from Bonner and Boundary counties.

Blame snow, snow and more snow.

Another big storm is predicted for Sunday. If that brings rain, “that will break the camel’s back,” Graham said.

A building in downtown Bonners Ferry, housing a hardware store, collapsed Friday morning. “They sold a lot of snow shovels there,” Graham said.

The roof of another downtown business caved in about three weeks ago, said Mayor Harold Sims.

Insurance agents in the county reported more than 200 storm-related claims and at least a third appear to be damaged buildings.

While Bonners Ferry has been able to keep up with plowing demands, according to Sims, the county has exhausted its resources. Since Thanksgiving week, crews have had to have help from private contractors just keeping the roads open.

Now there’s no place to put the snow, Graham said.

“We’ve been in an emergency off and on ever since Feb. 7,” when flooding did heavy damage, he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW YOU CAN HELP The piling snow is prompting area agencies to call for citizen help dealing with the drifts. Requests include: The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department is asking residents to keep snow away from fire hydrants. Coeur d’Alene area residents who put their garbage cans in the alley are asked to put the bins in the street starting Monday. Apologizing for the inconvenience, Shanna Salsbury of Waste Management Inc. said street collection will continue until further notice. Residents with questions about the change should call Waste Management at 765-4968, she said. Automobile owners in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene should not leave cars parked on the streets for longer than 24 hours without moving them to make snow plowing easier, officials in both cities say. If the cars become a problem for snowplows or emergency vehicles, they will be ticketed and towed. - Ken Olsen

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Ken Olsen Staff writer The Associated Press and staff writer Susan Drumheller contributed to this report.

This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW YOU CAN HELP The piling snow is prompting area agencies to call for citizen help dealing with the drifts. Requests include: The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department is asking residents to keep snow away from fire hydrants. Coeur d’Alene area residents who put their garbage cans in the alley are asked to put the bins in the street starting Monday. Apologizing for the inconvenience, Shanna Salsbury of Waste Management Inc. said street collection will continue until further notice. Residents with questions about the change should call Waste Management at 765-4968, she said. Automobile owners in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene should not leave cars parked on the streets for longer than 24 hours without moving them to make snow plowing easier, officials in both cities say. If the cars become a problem for snowplows or emergency vehicles, they will be ticketed and towed. - Ken Olsen

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Ken Olsen Staff writer The Associated Press and staff writer Susan Drumheller contributed to this report.


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