Tidbits - April 23, 2020

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


WEEK FOUR

  Week four of the quarantine began with a bang, literally.
  I happened to be awakened by the storm early Monday morning about the same time the power went out, approximately 4:30.
 With the thunder, lightning and howling wind, I knew there as no way I was going back to sleep.
  I keep a flashlight by my bed,  so I retrieved my phone that was on charge, and made my way to the den to get my portable, handheld scanner.
  From the scanner I learned fallen trees and power poles were completely blocking the Batesburg Hwy., near the Ridge Spring Hwy. intersection.
  I quickly figured out why I didn’t have any power,  since I reside on the Batesburg Hwy. Since the highway in front of my house continues to  be a mini-Harbison Boulevard, even in this pandemic, I put on Facebook about the trees to warn future travelers.
  For the next few hours I listened to the dispatchers let law enforcement officers know about fallen trees on roads and houses, burglar alarms, highway accidents, ambulance calls, fires, etc.
  Remember, this was a storm, with wind and driving rain, and our officers and emergency personnel were out in it.
  Calls came in from Hollywood to Ridge Spring, and the officers checked them all.
  Trees fell on at least six houses. In one instance, a family was safe inside their house, but was entrapped.
  A burglar alarm went off at a house in Ridge Spring where no one was home. When the officer went to check, he discovered fallen trees had blocked the long driveway, so he had to get out and walk to the house.
  A driver was injured when his vehicle hit a tree, and dispatch called an ambulance and a wrecker. As the driver was on the way to the hospital, the wrecker driver  realized the injured driver must have the keys to the cars on him. Through dispatch, ambulance and law enforcement, the keys to the car were retrieved.
 In another part of the county, a truck hit a tree and the driver was injured in this accident as well.
  The fire departments, road and bridge department, Department of Transportation crews were soon out in the storm clearing the roads. Crews from the power companies began making repairs, as outages were reported in many different sections.
  One of the strangest calls I’ve ever heard said a cell tower was on fire on the Greenwood Highway.
 How is that possible? I was picturing flames 200-feet in the air. It turned out the generator on the ground was on fire.
  My sister Dibbie posted on Facebook things were falling off her walls and she was going to get in her clawfoot tub.
  As the sky lightened, Dibbie posted pictures of a giant tree that had taken out part of her front porch.
  To show how good people in Saluda County are, volunteers were showing up at daybreak with chainsaws to help Dibbie with the tree. They soon found out removal would require professionals.
  Unless you have a police scanner you have no idea how hard the dispatchers, town, county and state law enforcement officers, road crew employees, ambulance drivers, fire department and power company personnel work in a storm so powerful it produced tornadoes on other parts of the state.
  They couldn’t say, “We’ll take care of it when it is over.” They were right there in it.
  We appreciate your service.


BEEN AWHILE

  You have to go back to the 60s and early 70s to find the last time a Saluda newspaper had a four-page issue, but we’ve got one this week.
  I’m afraid that is going to be the norm until things return to normal. All newspapers are being hard hit.
  I hope this is not the end to our industry.
 Oh, it will go on digitally, but I’ll miss turning pages while I drink my coffee. It’s not the same on an iPad.
  I already read my books on my devices, so I’m as guilty as the next guy.