Skip to Content

Storm Cleanup Ending

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The organized cleanup efforts from the March tornado came to a close Tuesday.

Custom Tree Care of Topeka, Kansas, has been responsible for debris removal. Project Manager Sean Latzen said volunteer efforts have made a huge impact.

“The amount of community response here, with the volunteers, has helped greatly expedite getting this cleaned up,” Latzen said. “There’s other places where there’s not a large community response, which makes it a lot slower.”

Custom Tree Care is also working with storm damage in Wilson County. Latzen is managing both projects. He said the level of organization in Putnam County’s cleanup has been excellent.

“There’s been a gentleman here that took the lead in coordinating everybody, which then really got everybody on the same page,” Latzen said. “In the beginning of these storms, you get a lot of people who want to help, and they are doing their own thing, which is good, but to help us get it cleaned up quicker for the community, it needs to be under one group.”

The EF-4 tornado touched down in the early morning hours of March 3. 19 people were killed and hundreds of structures were damaged along an almost 9 mile stretch of the Highway 70 corridor.

Latzen said the damage is typical to what he normally sees with strong storms. He said one of their jobs is to make it easier for people to begin recovery.

“The unfortunate thing is this is our normal,” Latzen said. “We come in and try to get it cleaned up as fast as possible, while also taking care of the people who used to live here and are coming back into the area, to make it be not as bad for them.”

The tornado outbreak of March 2 and 3 caused an estimated $1.1 billion dollars according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Across Middle Tennessee, 25 people were killed, more than 300 were injured, and over 70,000 people were left without power.

Latzen said Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter asked for more cleanup time to allow people to come back to salvage their homes as they felt they were able.

“It’s gone very well,” Latzen said. “The mayor asked us to give everybody a chance to get all their material out. There’s some people that are just coming back that it has been too traumatic for them. So, we’re giving them that little extra time to clean up.”

As cleanup efforts come to an end, evidence of recovery and repair continues in the storm affected area.


The post Storm Cleanup Ending appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.