Lawton_While most people are experiencing the cold after a power outage, some in Apache are dealing with additional problems - live wires and broken trees. Emergency crews are spread thin trying to monitor these hazardous situations until they can be taken care of.
Meanwhile, officials are preparing to open at least two shelters. 7News saw first hand just what Apache residents are dealing with. A lot of downed power lines and neighborhoods filled with debris from broken tree branches and limbs.
David Hollar is going on day three with no power. He says he's gotten used to it, but this morning another problem hit him - almost literally. A tree split and came within inches of hitting his house - now he has to clean it up. "Heard a loud noise, and my wife said the tree split open," says Hollar. "I got up at ten and worked on it ‘til mid afternoon, with a lot o f help from the neighbors across the street."
He's not alone. Police Chief Thomas Hathorn says there are felled trees across Apache. "Trees around here really loaded up with ice and causing them to droop down - and, a lot of limbs breaking off," he says. And, there's something causing even more potentially dangerous situations - dangling power lines. They are live wires and can kill.
"All it would take is a little kid that doesn't know any better and go up and touch it," says Hathorn. "Or, some adult that doesn't know, might not know that it might be alive and go up and move it." He says the ice got so heavy that it caused the lines to snap and, at one point, the electricity was so hot that it burned the ground below.
There's a lot to do - and not a lot of people to do it. So, until the city is able to repair potentially dangerous damage, many residents will have to tough it out. "It's an inconvenience, but I grew up in Oklahoma," says Hollar. "So, you know, you get used to power out occasionally with all the different kinds of storms we have - so that's where we are."
PSO and Caddo Electric service Apache and are reporting almost 2,000 homes still without power in it's six county region. About fifty homes are still without power in Apache - a significant amount for a small community. Officials are preparing to open two shelters to assist residents in need. If you are in need of assistance, call the Apache Police Department at 580-588-3309.
Currently the Great Plains Chapter is providing meals at the Apache Senior Citizen Nutrition Center, 301 E, Evans, Apache Oklahoma. James Conyers, Chapter Emergency Service Director is working with David Johnson, Fire Chief and other city/county officials in Apache to insure local needs are met. Currently no one has indicated a need for overnight shelter but Red Cross staff will remain in the area until at least - 9:00pm. Power to the 28 unit apartment complex has been restored and city officials report that 90% of the remaining outages in Apache should be restored within the hour.
Hotline calls to the chapter have decreased substantially since 5:00pm and there have been no requests for shelter from Lawton or surrounding areas this evening.
Persons in Comanche, Cotton, Jefferson, Stephens and Tillman Southernmost Caddo County, including the City of Apache should contact the chapter for assistance (580) 355-2480.
City/County Officials & Media can be reached by cell at: (Please do not publish these numbers.)
James Conyers, Emergency Services Director at: (580) 483-2790
Tracy Lorah, Executive Director/CEO at: (580) 471-5142