OAKLAND — National Guard troops teamed up with Garrett County police agencies Saturday to plow into the hardest hit areas of the county to bring relief to residents.
Maryland National Guard Maj. Gen. James A. Adkins checked in at emergency headquarters in Oakland. He then headed out into the Cranesville area and Youghiogheny Mountain Resort, some of the most damaged areas by the snow and winds as superstorm Sandy transformed into a blizzard at the beginning of last week.
“It took a day for the guard and other agencies to haul in fuel for the county 911 cell tower,” Adkins said.
About 8,000 people remained without power Saturday evening in the county.
The general and Garrett County Sheriff Rob Corley rode in a convoy of vehicles into storm-ravaged areas to help open up roads and aid electricity and communications recovery.
Corley said the cooperation between agencies was strong, and he praised the state police, the Department of Natural Resources and others for the effort.
About 95 percent of the state and county roads were passable by late Saturday, Corley said. Deputies were getting little rest.
Corley and his deputies were working with a list of senior citizens and others who they checked on one by one to make sure they were accounted for and safe.
“It’s difficult to tell you the devastation. It is going to be weeks, months for a full recovery,” Corley said.
Potomac Edison crews were called in to restore power from as far away as Florida, Corley said. That included as many as 300 linemen and 175 people on saw crews.
About 77 guard troops were in the county Saturday; the first were deployed Monday.
Guard members brought 38 pieces of equipment with them to help dig the county out from 30-plus inches of snow in many areas.
Troops were quartered with Maryland State Police in the county.
The commander on the scene in Garrett County is Lt. Col. Weedon Gallagher of Harve de Grace.
“We have soldiers from east as far as Salisbury coming up here to offer support,” Gallagher said.
“We’re your neighbors. It’s what we do,” said Gallagher.
Contact Matthew Bieniek at firstname.lastname@example.org.