Originally created 05/04/02

Residents survey storm damage



The sale of an Overton Road home was supposed to close June 15, but the tall tree arching out of the roof said differently.

"It's going to be a real shock to the individual that signed for it," owner Charles Bellmann said.

He and his wife, Marilynn, suffered minor injuries when a storm Friday sent a tree crashing into their home in the 2300 block of Overton Road.

"This is going to take a heck of a lot of time (to fix)," he said. "They may have to tear the whole thing down."

The storm, which struck communities in Columbia, Augusta and Aiken, left many people without power and pummeled homes and streets with debris and falling trees.

Barbara Dahl, a resident of Scotts Way off Skinner Mill Road, said her family had been without electricity since about 6:30 p.m.

Ms. Dahl said she didn't have any idea when power would be restored, but did notice a fire truck checking on residents.

"It was pretty bad. Luckily, there was a flashlight nearby," she said. "The wind was blowing the trees, and it looked like they may crack.

"Our pool is loaded with pine branches and pine cones."

Clifford Dyer said there was marble-sized hail hitting the ground about 7 p.m. in his south Aiken neighborhood.

"Everybody's out and walking up and down looking at the damage," Mr. Dyer said Friday night. "A tree or two came down."

Loren Saxton, the owner of House and Property Repair Service in Bath, which he runs out of his home, said the rough weather swept past his residence.

"The electricity went out, and I got some hail in my yard," he said.

Otherwise, he said, there was no damage.

Although he has specialized in light home repairs for the past three years, he said his business doesn't tend to go up after big storms.

That may not be the case today. Business was already picking up at one retailer Friday night.

"(Sales) picked up for a little while. A few chain-saws were sold," said Merle Hicks, the assistant store manager at Lowes Home Improvement on Peach Orchard Road.

"We expect tomorrow morning, we'll probably have (more) people here; once they see the damage and debris left over," Mr. Hicks said.

David Dlugolenski, the director of the Richmond County Emergency Management Agency, said work crews with the city's trees and landscaping were out Friday removing downed trees from roadways. He said crews were not assisting residents to remove debris from their homes, but would help with the cleanup.

"If they can move the debris out of the street, and into the right of way, we'll take care of it," he said.

George Kuhl of Redwood Drive near Lake Olmstead said large oaks had fallen around his property, and he was trying to reach his insurance agent.

"He must be busy," Mr. Kuhl said. "I haven't been able to get him."

Staff Writers Eric Williamson and Timothy Cox contributed to this article.

Albert Ross at (706) 823-3339 or albert.ross@augustachronicle.com.