The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 30, 2012

One shelter open, 10,000 without power in Fayette County

As in most other areas, Fayette County emergency officials are responding to a “fluid” situation in dealing with the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

Steve Cruikshank, deputy director of the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services, said that the Appalachian Power Co. website reported about 10,690 Fayette County customers without power as of 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. Many customers in Fayetteville and north of the New River Gorge Bridge were among those without power, and Gauley Bridge in the western end of the county was also affected.

“It’s still a really fluid situation with the power,” Cruikshank said. “We’re trying to get some idea from Appalachian Power on the duration.”

One full-time shelter was being set up and staffed at the Fayetteville Church of God, which also hosted a shelter during the derecho this summer. It was expected to be up and running shortly, Cruikshank said late this morning. Other shelters are on stand-by until the need arises. Some potential shelters are among those that, right now, don’t have power or a back-up source.

Emergency response officials responded to “all kinds of wrecks” overnight and earlier today, as well as fallen trees and other storm-related incidents.

He was unaware of any injuries directly related to the storm, although some of the wrecks may have resulted in injuries.

While the roads have cleared somewhat but with possibly more bad weather to come, Cruikshank says, “(People) shouldn’t go out unless they’ve got a need. During the (summer) storm, we were really hampered by people (out on the roads) looking to see what they could see.”

As of late this morning, U.S. 60 at Chimney Corner was closed due to a slide.

The county has a National Guard liaison on hand, as well as a health and welfare team. Cruikshank said a request has been made for more personnel.

In addition to their regular duties, Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler and his deputies are available and “will do about anything,” Cruikshank said.

Anyone with non-emergency storm-related concerns can call the Fayette County OES at 304-574-1610 or 304-574-3285. If it’s an emergency, call 911.

Fayette officials are also working with WQAZ 98.5 FM and 101.5 FM to disseminate storm updates, Cruikshank noted.

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