Got your back

City of Orangeburg employee Charles Glover goes above and beyond the call of duty by helping Shakeema Buggs cross the bridge over the Edisto River on Highway 301 Monday afternoon. Buggs was walking to her job in the downtown area of Orangeburg when she came to the blockage.

LARRY HARDY/T&D

Orangeburg officials say they are pleased with the way the city prepared for this week’s dangerous flooding.

“We had all of our people on standby. We met as team, planned as a team, and functioned as a team,” City Administrator John Yow said.

The city is watching the water go down and working with other agencies to assess some of Orangeburg’s most damaged parts.

The city’s buildings have done well, Yow said. “We will be evaluating some of our drainage canals over the next several days.”

Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Chief Mike Adams said keeping citizens safe was very “manpower intensive” and required a citywide effort with several city departments.

“We certainly worked together to get the job done,” Adams said.

The departments monitored flooding and fallen trees. They also enforced road closures.

A few people were rescued from cars, but they were not life-threatening situations. There were no fatalities.

“We helped get them out of their cars and to higher ground -- just a few instances that happened,” Adams said.

The flooding of the Edisto River was the most significant threat that has been associated with the city of Orangeburg, Adams said.

“It cut access to the south side of the city. Highway 301 was closed at the Edisto River Bridge. Glover Street was closed due to flooding at Glover and Stonewall Jackson. Access was severely restricted,” he said.

Although the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce didn’t have any power Tuesday, no water got inside the building. Chamber President Dede Cook says they are operating away from the chamber in a room at the Department of Public Utilities.

Cook anticipates the power will return on Friday, but says the water still has to be assessed. The Chamber of Commerce is preparing for its golf tournament on Thursday at Hillcrest.

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler commended the city for its collaboration with Orangeburg County and several departments during the city’s severe weather challenges.

“The city prepared very well. Public Safety, Public Works, Bill Staley and the Emergency Preparedness Group, DPU – they all worked in conjunction to ensure the safety of every citizen in this entire county,” he said.

Butler said whenever there was flooding in a specific area, streets were closed down and officers were placed there to make sure citizens didn’t drive down those roads.

“The Preparedness Team worked very well to be able to handle whatever was expected. If there was an emergency, they were prepared,” he said.

Butler says Orangeburg County is blessed. He is proud of the city’s response time.

“We have some great men and women who really care about human lives and human conditions that work in this county,” Butler said.

Yow said, “We feel very fortunate that we didn’t have any other tragedies as other communities did. Our hearts go out to those communities.”

Contact the writer: princess.williams@timesanddemocrat.com or (803) 533-5516.

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