July 24, 2006 in Nation/World

St. Louis begins ‘massive’ cleanup

Jeff Douglas Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Timmy Brown, left, and Joe Borden, both of St. Louis, unload their truck loaded with trees limbs at a dump site Sunday in St. Louis.
(Full-size photo)

ST. LOUIS – More than 100 dump trucks rolled through city streets Sunday collecting mangled trees and branches left behind by last week’s powerful storms that cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

Tons of debris reached up to 25 feet high at one of three city drop-off points, parks officials said. Members of the Missouri Army National Guard are assisting with the cleanup.

“It’s hard to believe your eyes when you are looking at something this massive,” St. Louis Parks Director Gary Bass said. “This is just the beginning.”

About 290,000 homes and businesses here were still without power Sunday, down from the more than a half-million homes and businesses powerless last week while temperatures soared into triple digits. Four deaths in the region have been attributed to the storms or heat.

A utility company spokeswoman said it could be at least four days before service is fully restored.

The power company has been running television commercials asking for the city’s patience. Some 4,000 utility workers from as far away as Arizona are restoring power around the clock.

Emergency rooms are inundated with patients who rely on power for oxygen and other medical needs.

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