Cleanup continues after recent wind storm

Utilities, public works, and private companies all assisting in cleanup efforts

Mike Baggerman
February 25, 2019 - 9:00 pm

Tree damage at a home on Royal Oak Drive in Clarence. February 25, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Tim Wenger)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Thousands of people lost power as a result of the high winds on Sunday and Monday, dozens saw extensive tree damage to their property, and just about everybody was inconvenienced in some way.

While the worst is behind us, utility companies, public officials, and private companies are all assisting in cleanup efforts.

AJ's Tree Service had a busy Monday responding to calls of tree damage, including one at Royal Oak Drive in Clarence, where a tree snapped and went directly through a home like a spear.

"Forty feet of tree tipped off and went into the house," Steve Esler, Crew Chief at AJ's Tree Service, told WBEN. "As it went into the roof, the roof stripped all the sticks and limbs off the tree so it became a spear and went through the house. Then you had this spear of wood with a pointed tip go through the house, through a hallway, and into the garage. It was something else."

Steve Esler of AJ's Tree Service. February 25, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Tim Wenger)

To fix it, they took the weight off the piece in the house from the outside. Someone then went in the home to cut the tree into separate pieces, which were removed.

National Grid anticipates their work continuing into Tuesday.

"The numbers are obviously down," Ken Kujawa of National Grid said. "We're making progress right now. It's tough to say where we'll be (Tuesday). The numbers are obviously down. We feel good that at least the wind, though still strong, has subsided a little bit."

Governor Andrew Cuomo put utility companies on notice on Saturday. Kujawa said plans were already made by the middle of last week in advance of the storm.

"National Grid is a member of an organization called NYMAG," Kujawa explained. "All the utilities partnered together and when we have an event like this, the utilities help each other and send crews in support. We started that outreach beginning last week. We secured crews from a number of states that had already moved into Western New York in advance of this storm hitting."

Acting Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Mike Finn said they also anticipate continuing work into Tuesday.

"We also work through winds, snow, or whatever is necessary," Finn said. "We're confident we'll be able to continue that effort through the storm to get everything cleaned up."

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