go south to help
By SUE WATSON
Chancery Clerk Chuck
Thomas, Jim Summerlin of Holly Springs and Ray Nooner of
Tippah County spent four days in Biloxi, Gulfport and
Ocean Springs recovering, identifying and tagging bodies
found in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit
the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts last week.
Thomas, formerly Marshall
County coroner, said just under 200 bodies were recovered
before he left the area.
He said the victims were
from among all ages, races men, women and
children. Most of the victims had identification on them,
he said, and most of the bodies were found in the rubble,
but some were found in attics. Canine teams were used to
The team went to the area
at the request of the Mississippi Funeral Home Directors
Association. The group travelled in a motor home for
sleeping accommodations and carried a satellite phone
Spotters located and
marked bodies using GPS coordinates and then called the
coroners to retrieve the victims bodies, he said.
Thomas brought back
photographs of the destruction, which included a picture
of an above ground mausoleum that had lost its caskets,
the destroyed home of Confederate President Jefferson
Davis, a pile of new cars swept from a automobile dealers
parking lot, Casinos washed ashore to the north side of
Highway 90 and churches standing with missing walls.
Electric Power Association also sent crews southward
after restoring power to its own customers following the
August 29 storm.
General Manager Kevin
Doddridge said Northcentral workers started working at 4
p.m. August 29 and it took about 26 hours to get power
back up in its service area which includes Byhalia.
The next day we sent
crews to work in Oxford and Lafayette County, he
A fresh work team was
scheduled to leave for Greenwood Saturday, September 3.
We will probably
send three pieces of equipment and six men to Greenwood,
he said. They need just a little help to get them
over the hump.
Doddridge said his company
has been asked to help on the Gulf Coast, but due to
strain on communication in the central and southern
portion of the state he expects it to be two weeks before
they leave for assignments further south.
He said Northcentral plans
to keep a close watch on fuel supplies, poles and other
necessities to keep service going at home.
He expects the Gulf Coast
effort to keep some of Northcentrals workers
deployed for quite a while trying to help restore power
in South Mississippi, he said.
When we get the
order to go to the coast, we will be there for a while,
he said. We will probably wind up sending all types
of people, not just line workers. We will send people to
handle the meals and communications people. They have
asked for help; not just line workers are needed.
Holly Springs Fire Chief
Ken Holbrook said the names of fire and rescue workers
locally are on a list of available people to help with
the effort, if needed.
When they want us,
they will call us, he said. We are just
waiting and willing to help.
County Administrator Larry
Hall advised the board of supervisors Monday that the
Mississippi Association of Supervisors is compiling
contact information to help provide assistance to coastal
counties. The association has asked for a list of
specific types of assistance counties are prepared to
They will submit a
list to Mississippi Emergency Management Association and
forward resources to stricken areas, he said.
We have a mutual aid agreement.
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