Jackson County clean-up crews prepare for heavy rain

For more than a week, they've been cleaning up the debris that remains from the fire that killed 8 people there.

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 9:43 PM
Updated: Feb 5, 2020 8:03 AM

Salvage crews at the Jackson County Park Marina plan to have a busy day on Wednesday before the heavy rain strikes. 

For more than a week, they've been cleaning up the debris that remains from the fire that killed 8 people there.

The Southern Marine Towing and Salvage team tells WAAY31 they had a phone conference on Tuesday with the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service from Huntsville.

They estimate the most intense weather will start to hit the area by sunset on Wednesday, so crews plan on working through the day, unless wind and lightning become a problem.

"If we have any high winds it can mess our boom, up to where we have to re-anchor them out or move any of our equipment, so we're prepared for it, we know what's going on," Shane O'Neal with the salvage team said. 

O'Neal says he and his salvage team still have plenty of work to do, 14 burned boats are still in the water, and oil and chemicals need to be removed. 

Rain and severe weather could be a burden.

"We have some radars and stuff on our boats to know when lightning strikes are around, if we have a lightning strike within 10 miles we'll shut down for an hour," O'Neal said.

The salvage crew says they will tie their boats up even more and make sure those knots are tight in the event of strong winds. The crane will be lowered as well if winds start to pick up. Still, the team expects to make significant progress by Friday.

"Depending on the weather, nothing else happens around here, we should be done with the dock by friday, and then another week of cleanup," O'Neal said. 

He says if the water levels at the marina rise, it's actually helpful. O'Neal explains the higher the water levels, the closer the barge can be moved to the debris they need to pick up.

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