Marion responders praised for storm response

Mar 7, 2018

Marion Police Chief John Garcia was less than pleased with area weathermen on March 6. "I'd like to find the person who said the storm wouldn't be bad," he joked while reporting on the storm to Marion's Board of Selectmen. "As a matter of fact, it was much worse than anticipated."

Garcia, Marion Fire Chief Brian Jackvony, and interim Director of Public Works Jon Henry all reported on storm damage and cleanup efforts to the Board of Selectmen.

Garcia said that during the storm, seven cruisers, as well as the town's shellfish cruiser, had been deployed to answer calls. The Police Department, he said, answered 138 calls over the three days of the storm, 49 related to wires and trees down, 10 for arcing wires, and several others for related storm damage.

"I was disappointed in the response of Eversource," Garcia said, noting that it took 10 hours for the first Eversource truck to arrive in Marion. "At one point, the whole lower east side was blocked off to emergency vehicles, as well as parts of Converse Road."

Garcia praised the efforts of the Department of Public Works, whose response, he said, "was tremendous."

Jackvony said that as a result of the storm, the Fire Department had responded to 213 calls—"two months worth of work in three days." The Fire Department averages 110 calls per month when storms aren't dropping trees and wires on the town.

In a few cases, Jackvony said, the Fire Department assisted in rescuing Marion citizens who were trapped in their vehicles when trees tumbled over on top of them. Luckily, no residents were seriously injured.

He did say that some Fire Department equipment will need to be repaired, including the town's new ambulance. "It was in Wareham, and a pedestrian in town was actually blown into its path in the storm. The driver slammed the brakes on, the doors were thrown open, and the wind took the doors," he said. "Luckily, it's just repairs and nobody was hurt."

Henry said DPW workers had been out on a trash collection run when the storm kicked up. "About three-quarters of the trash blew away before we could get to it," he joked.

As soon as it became clear that the storm was picking up, he said, trash collection was suspended, and DPW workers instead went to help clear roads of trees and debris.

"We leave removing trees from wires to the power company, even if it's an emergency," he explained, "as it's just safer that way. But DPW employees helped remove fallen trees and blowdown debris like branches to keep the roads clear."

Marion Selectmen Jody Dickerson and Norm Hills thanked the trio for their hard work and effort during the storm, and agreed to send all employees of the Police and Fire Department, as well as the Department of Public Works, letters of thanks and commendation for their efforts in the storm.