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January 7, 2014

County declares emergency in District 1

DUNCAN — Dec. 20’s ice storm had a negative impact on Stephens County District 1, to such a degree the Board of Stephens County Commissioners signed an emergency disaster declaration Monday morning.

The declaration, which was signed by commissioners during their regular meeting, allows District 1 to be noted for the need of aid, relief and assistance. Darrell Sparks, District 1 commissioner, said Gary Ball and Jimmy Pryor, both with Stephens County Emergency Management, are working with the State of Oklahoma for assistance.

“We’re going to see if we can get some help from the state,” Sparks said. “They should be coming down in a few days.”

He said the impact of the ice storm took down numerous tree branches throughout the district, creating a large amount of debris. That, coupled with dead trees already in the district, added to the cleanup efforts needed in District 1, Sparks said.

Sparks said things could have been worse and almost were. The rain that fell Dec. 19, the day before the ice storm, was too warm to cause the damage it would have otherwise.

“We were close to a major catastrophe,” Sparks said. “If all that rain had frozen on contact, we wouldn’t have had a power line or tree left.”

He marked District 1 fortunate, despite having more damage than the other two districts in the county. The ice storm doesn’t compare to the ice storm that occurred at the end of January in 2010, when much of the county was without electricity for days, if not weeks.

Sparks said natural disasters and other emergency-related incidences seem to be happening more frequently. Aside from ice storms, the county has also experienced damaging winds, floods, wild fires and earthquakes since Sparks first became commissioner.

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Duncan Vice Mayor Mike Nelson talks during Wednesday's Duncan Rotary meeting.

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