Johnston storm damage cleanup slow, homeowners hopeful “Cleanup Day” could eliminate remaining debris

JOHNSTON, S.C. (WJBF) – The City of Johnston is still working to get back on its feet, after a line of storms left the Edgefield County town in a state of emergency.

It’s been several weeks since an EF-2 Tornado ripped through Johnston, South Carolina.

While some homeowners are doing what they can, the city is hoping that a Cleanup Day will help get things back to normal.

Downed trees in Gloria Tolman’s yard aren’t stopping her from cutting the grass.

She’s just working around the mess, because she can’t clean it up alone.

“I’m a great-grandmother and I have asthma, so I can’t do a whole lot myself.” Tolman told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “I do what I can, as I can.”

A part of a tree in her backyard broke off and destroyed her workshop.

Nearly a month later it’s still sitting there.

She says there’s been little movement to pickup the debris.

“We have not seen anybody actually coming by to cleanup,” Tolman said.

The City of Johnston can only haul away trees and yard waste that’s 6 inches around and up to 5 feet long.

Still, Johnston homeowner Conwill Parks says a pile of debris, in front of his home, has been sitting there for two weeks.

“All this stuff is less than 6 inches,” Parks said. “That’s what the town is supposed to pickup, but as you can see it hasn’t been done.”

“We’ve been doing the best we can as a town, but the sad part a lot of it still falls on the homeowner responsibility.” Johnston Mayor Terrence Culbreath told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “When trees fall down on your property they are your trees.”

Hours and days after the storm many neighbors came together to get trees off houses and cut up.

While the City of Johnston doesn’t have the equipment to remove the larger debris, they are hopeful people who do will lend a helping hand.

“I think it’s a good idea, if people will come and volunteer, but I’m not saying that people haven’t.” Culbreath said. “I think we had a great volunteer effort once everything got started. Moving forward it’s going to take more than just people with chainsaws. Right now we need people with grapples and dump trucks.”

The Cleanup Day is Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Anyone who wants to volunteer should report to Town Hall at 7:30 a.m.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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