The Woodward News

Local News

February 25, 2013

Winter weather leads to local fatality

Woodward, Okla. — Heavy snow led to at least one fatality in Woodward on Monday.
Woodward Emergency Manager Matt Lehenbauer said one person died after the snow caused a structure on the backside of a home to partially collapse in the 3600 block of 22nd Street. Curtis Haines, 71, died in the collapse, which has been ruled an accident by the state medical examiner's office, said Amy Elliott, chief administrative officer. Haines' services are pending with Billings Funeral Home.
In addition there were reports of an awning collapse at a gas station in Mooreland on Monday, Lehenbauer said.
Part of the outdoor portion of the garden center at Wal-Mart in Woodward also collapsed Monday.

On Tuesday, Lehenbauer said, "We've received reports of a partial roof collapse at the Siemens facility 5 miles west of Woodward.  But we're still waiting for more information about it."

However, he did say that no injuries were reported in connection with the possible structural damage at the Siemens facility.

Total official snowfall was around 16-18 inches in Woodward County, according to emergency management Facebook page with some areas receiving more. Reader reports on the Woodward News Facebook page indicated over 20 inches in some spots - in Woodward and area communities.

Lehenbauer declared a state of emergency in Woodward County Monday afternoon to last for the duration of the weather event.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, at the request of Gov. Mary Fallin, declared a state of emergency for much of the state including the counties in Northwest Oklahoma.

The Red Cross set up a shelter at the Pioneer Room on 9th Street but as of early morning it had not been used. It remains on standby if needed.

STRANDED VEHICLES
The snow also led to several vehicles getting stranded on area roads, including a few emergency vehicles.  Lehenbauer said 5 firefighters in 3 fire vehicles plus an ambulance with a crew of 2 got stuck near County Road E/W 45 and Lakeview Drive while trying to respond to a reported fire Monday afternoon.

Fire Chief Steve Day said that his guys worked with city, county and some private industry workers to try to free the vehicles, but had to leave them out overnight.

"We're going back out to see if we can get the trucks recovered," Day told The News on Tuesday morning.
In addition, Lehenbauer reported that 4 county road clearing vehicles and 3 ODOT snow clearing vehicles also got stuck in the snow on Monday.  He said there was also a Woodward County Sheriff's deputy stranded 4 miles west of the Woodward-Major County line.
That's along with several drivers who ventured out only to get stuck or slide off the road.
"The problem we're having is that every time we send a vehicle out to try to rescue them, it gets stuck too," Lehenbauer said.

But by Tuesday morning, Lehenbauer reported that everyone they knew of who had been stranded was reached safely overnight.

Even after the snow had stopped on Tuesday, the emergency manager said some pieces of equipment were still getting caught in snow drifts, which measured 6 feet or more in some areas.
"Nothing smaller than a bulldozer isn't going to be able to make it through," he said.  "Even our regular sized road graders are having trouble getting around."

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