A private contractor, who specializes in storm damage cleanup, could be found working on Grand Avenue in Hannibal Monday morning. The sight of the over-sized trucks caught the eye of Ron Morrow, 737 Grand Ave.
“It’s a heck of a setup,” said Morrow as he sat on his porch watching a Timberline worker use a large claw to pick up limbs and other tree debris, and deposit them into large truck beds. “It beats throwing them up by hand.”
Timberline’s owner, Michael Dotson, said it’s not uncommon for his trucks to attract spectators.
“We don’t mind,” he said. “We’re happy to be here helping.”
The city decided to bring in outside “help” to speed the process along. Morrow is thankful the city is providing curb-side pickup.
“I’ve seen them do it before and other times they have not,” he said of the post-storm service. “As bad as this storm was, I’m glad they are.”
Dotson, who was advised of Hannibal’s May 20 storm damage by a friend, isn’t sure how long his personnel will be helping in America’s Hometown.
“As long as they need us here,” he said. “There’s a lot of debris here, but it just depends how long they want us here. If they want us two or three days, we’re here. Whatever we can do to help them. There’s no set amount of time.”
Timberline has been helping residents clear debris following major storms for 15 years. In addition to Hannibal, Dotson currently has teams in Moore, Okla., which was hit by an F5 tornado on May 20, and Texas, where wildfire damage remains from a couple of summers ago.
“We travel all over the United States when there’s federal disasters, mainly hurricanes and tornadoes,” said Dotson, whose personnel were on the East Coast until January, helping with Hurricane Sandy cleanup.
Dotson likens the damage he’s seen in Hannibal with that which occurs during bad ice storms.
“We do a lot of ice storms in the winter. It’s about like that,” he said, noting that his Missouri company sent crews to help with cleanup efforts two years ago after a powerful winter storm hit Massachusetts and Connecticut. “It’s not major compared to what we’ve seen where it (damage) has been catastrophic, but there’s still a lot of debris here to clean up.”
Morrow admits the damage left by the storm at his home was small compared to what others around him suffered.
Page 2 of 2 - “I just had a little pile (of debris),” he said. “The man behind me lost about a dozen black walnut trees.”
Timberline’s objective in Hannibal is straightforward.
“We’re going to try and help you get it cleaned up as soon as possible, and then be out of the way so people can get back to normal,” said Dotson.