President declares state a federal disaster area

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 20, 2004

Butler County had prepared for the worst and it appears that is what they got. Hurricane Ivan leaving virtually all residents without power and phones afterward ravaged the entire county. While some regained power as early as Thursday night many will feel the burn of Ivan for weeks to come.

Butler County Emergency Planner Bob Luman said the county looked like a war zone.

&uot;There is massive damage in the county as far as powerlines and all of that,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We haven’t even been able to really see all the damage yet.&uot;

Luman said the first step they wanted to make was to clear a path to see just how massive the destruction was.

&uot;We’re at the point right now where we just want to get the streets cleared up and drive around and assess the damage,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We’ll do the preliminary damage assessments soon. That will be our first step.&uot;

Luman said the federal government had done their part to help speed up the process as well.

&uot;We’ve already got a declaration which means the president has declared Butler County a disaster area,&uot; said Luman. &uot;Now we have to do what we can to help out.&uot;

Luman said the next step would be making items available to people in need. Many were left without water or any means of keeping food cold. Luman said the EMA and county would formulate a plan to make supplies available.

&uot;We will have water and ice at some point we just don’t know when and where that will be,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We don’t know what the schedule will be for that right now. We’ll just have to wait and see.&uot;

While shelters were made available to Butler Countians, Luman said few put them to use. Many decided to wait the storm out in their homes or churches.

&uot;People didn’t really use the shelters all that much,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We had maybe 250 to 300 people in them at their peak. I think this morning only one family was still at Beeland Park. They were only there because a tree had fallen on their home and they had to leave.&uot;

Luman said though waiting the storm out at home was dangerous not deaths or serious injuries had been reported.

&uot;We haven’t had any deaths reported for Butler County, but I think that apples statewide,&uot; said Luman. &uot;We’ll know more about that as we open roads.&uot;