WILMINGTON — The weather outside was frightful but emergency personnel couldn’t take a break from helping locals over the holiday weekend.
Ohio experienced subzero temperatures and even colder wind chills. This resulted in roads becoming extremely dangerous to drive on.
Sgt. Donald Rack of the Ohio State Highway Patrol told the News Journal the Patrol responded to over 170 calls. Thirty-three were reported accidents, while 144 were officers responding to disabled vehicles or vehicles that drifted off the road.
One accident emergency services responded to was a multi-vehicle accident over the Clinton/Warren County line near I-71 North for a “multi-vehicle accident.”
Rack also advised there were no fatalities or serious injuries.
“This was about as normal as we expected especially with the weather,” he said. “Most of the accidents were due to sliding off the road and the extreme cold. A lot got stuck in the roads due to the snow drifts.”
Locals dealt with the cold in many different ways. Karen McClure, of Wilmington, shared that she had to use the ice scraper on the inside of her window just to see out. Stephanie Williams, also of Wilmington, saw the snow drifts growing in front of her house.
“(It) went well above our porch rails,” said Williams.
The Clinton County Emergency Management Agency sent multiple notifications via text on the road closures and other weather updates. Most of them were due to powerlines being down and needing repairs. The closures included U.S. 68 between State Route 73 and Center Road, and Starbuck Road between U.S. 22 and Prairie Road.
Adams Township Trustees closed Hadley Road at the Z curve due to persistent snow drifts. As of press time, the road remained closed.
The Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District responded to Clinton Massie Elementary School on Sunday to suspected pipes burst after getting notice of a “fire alarm with water flow.”
The Fire District made entry into the school where they were “met with heavy water flow and approximately 8 inches of water throughout the front office area of the building,” according to a Facebook post the Fire District made.
Water and ceiling tiles were found “floating throughout the hallways and offices,” according to the post. A fire was not the cause of the water flow.
“It hasn’t been confirmed yet but we suspect the water pipes may have frozen over and cracked,” Chief Bob Wysong told the News Journal.
“School officials were notified and were on scene quickly to assist with controlling the damage. Once water flow was stopped, crews were able to turn on electric and heat so further damage was not done to the structure,” the post said.
The Fire District left the scene around two hours after arriving.
The restoration company 1-800-Board Up and the school’s insurance company was contacted to assist with the damages. Wysong told the News Journal, they’d be working “around the clock” to get things cleaned up and taken care of.
Wysong advises all locals to make sure they check their water pipes and make sure they don’t freeze.
As of press time, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office declared a level-one snow emergency in the county. This indicates the roadways are hazardous and drivers should be very cautious. Rack advises locals to continue to practice safe driving.
“Slow down, maintain a safe distance while traveling, and wear your seat belts,” he said.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574