The final traces of Hurricane Ike will soon be nothing more than a memory for the city of Oxford.
Power was restored to the entirety of the city during the weekend and the remainders of the storm’s debris will be cleaned up throughout this week, according to who Mike Dreisbach, Oxford service director.
He said Oxford officials made a collaborative effort to clean up the city.
“Our streets and maintenance division did all of the cleaning and took care of public safety,” Dreisbach said. “We then worked with Duke Energy to clear wires that had fallen.”
Dreisbach said that safety was always considered first, followed by the clearing of right-of-ways and then clearing leftover brush.
“We were busy clearing while Duke Energy was actively assessing all their lines to see where their priorities should be,” he said. “It was a natural progression to clear the right-of-ways, while they would restore lines and wires that were broken.”
Dreisbach said that the brush was taken to the service department’s recycling facility, where it will be turned into compost.
According to Dreisbach, as the cleanup effort continues, the leftover debris from the hurricane’s wake will be picked up this week by Rumpke. Citizens of Oxford and students are only responsible for getting the debris or limbs to the curb, and then any storm remainders will be picked up. Dreisbach said that size is not an issue.
“If it was not a public tree, it would have gone through homeowners insurance and a contractor would have come out to handle that,” he said.
Dreisbach said estimated that Hurricane Ike cost Oxford’s service department approximately $75,000. Such fees came from having to pay the wages of all the employees required for the cleanup, in addition to fuel costs.
The Oxford Service Department had approximately 40 people working to remove fallen trees from public property, Dreisbach said. He estimated city workers spent about 1,200 regular working hours and 400 overtime hours to clean up after the storm.
For trees not on public property, landlords had to check on their own properties.
Sara Rodbro of Red Brick Property Management said that she did not have an overall estimate on repair costs, but that her company did have to call in some contractors for help after the storm for a handful of properties.
“We do have a few things that we are taking care of (such as) byproducts of the wind,” she said. “We have to make sure that we didn’t miss anything because there are so many trees in the area.”
Miami University junior Erika Eschleman said a tree fell near her house, in the middle of Withrow Street.
“We were told (by Duke Energy) that since the tree was so big, a special machine was needed to cut it down,” she said.
Eschleman said she assumed this tree contributed to the delay in power being returned to her Oxford home. She said that either one of her roommates or just through word of mouth, Duke Energy received word of the downed tree and began to fix the problem. Eschleman was informed by her roommates that their electricity was finally turned back on the night of Sept. 19.