WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With power and traffic lights still out in some areas and a big clean-up underway, city leaders are speaking out about Wilmington’ response to this week’s winter storm.
“We don’t fix outages,” Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said. “We implemented our hurricane plan that we do every year, that we have every year. We do the exact same thing every year. I mean I don’t know what you want us to do. Cut trees down and fix power lines?”
Of course no one expects Wilmington police officers to replace power crews, but Mayor Bill Saffo says the city’s streets needed more manpower.
“We do not have enough personnel in regards to the police department to be able to handle all of the intersections that were affected, because they were also answering calls of service for people that needed police help,” Saffo said. “Wwe’ve had a lot of lights go out, and we had a lot of people on the road, even though we told them not to get out on the road, and that caused a lot of problems.”
As the clean-up continues, City Manager Sterling Cheatham says the city’s response was appropriate.
“I think the proof is in the outcome,” Cheatham said. “If you drive the streets of Wilmington, you see the streets are open and a lot of the debris is on the curb to be picked up.”
Saffo said, “We feel pretty good. Obviously it was a pretty significant storm, ice storm that hit us, but still we have a lot of people coordinating and working together to get power.”
Now city leaders say it’s time to look back and learn from this storm to move forward. Mayor Saffo says the city will soon evaluate the storm response in an attempt to be even more prepared for a similar event or even hurricanes.