COLUMBIA — With power restored to the Ashland area, the cleanup effort has begun.
“Ash street looks like a tornado hit it. And there are still limbs in the road that are still attached to trees,” said Lila Matheny, who is in charge of a children’s ministry at the Ashland Baptist Church.
The church canceled its services last Sunday, but the building served as a shelter to residents who had lost power because of the ice storms.
“This church is the place where if there were to be a tornado, the people of this community would come here as a safe haven,” Matheny said. She said this is the first time the church has allowed residents to stay in its basement after an ice storm.
Church member Adele Pauley didn’t need the shelter. She lost her power for about seven hours Sunday and had to cancel a family lunch she had planned.
Her husband, Jim Pauley, who is 75 and a retired state representative, is disabled. While he typically uses on an oxygen generator, he relied on an oxygen tank during the power outage. He also uses a nebulizer, which he had to power using the Pauley’s car.
“So he sat in the car for about two hours, keeping warm. And I’d go out once in a while, but I kept warm with the fireplace,” she said.
Ashland City Administrator Chris Heard said he spent most of Wednesday assessing the quantity of the debris.
“We’re trying to figure out what to do with debris and making sure that the roads are passable for the utility companies and the citizens,” he said.
He said while the debris can be taken to a landfill or burnt, it could also be mulched. Residents could then use the mulch as they plant new trees, he said.
Wednesday was Heard’s third day on the job. He is from St. Robert, near Fort Leonard Wood, where he served as assistant city administrator.
“I have a little experience in the fact that I was in Pulaski County when the storm of January 19th through 22nd hit,” he said. “It’s a little like deja vu.”