With 70+ inches of snow, community struggles to free itself

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:34 PM EST
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NATURAL BRIDGE, New York (WWNY) - Days after the snowstorm, there are real concerns in some of the hardest-hit areas about getting help to people who may need it because of all the snow that hasn’t been cleared.

“First-time homeowners - and we got a rude awakening,” said Ryan Queary.

The historic lake effect snowstorm dumped more than 70 inches of snow in the Natural Bridge community.

With help from family and neighbors, Queary got dug out Saturday afternoon.

“Dogs - we weren’t prepared for. They went through their food a little too quick. We made it work using some of our stuff, eggs,” he said.

Another resident was stuck at home until Wednesday morning when the Natural Bridge Volunteer Fire Department cleared the way.

“We’re tired. I mean, there’s basically a handful of us here at the fire department and the ambulance that have been around the clock working,” said 2nd Assistant Fire Chief Ronald Ward.

Working to dig people out while dealing with its own aftermath from the storm.

“The front of our building got toppled. That’s probably got 6 or 8 feet of snow inside there from all the snow that came off the roof,” said Ward.

He says even as one of the worst hit communities, he didn’t feel Natural Bridge got enough or as many resources as other communities in the days after the storm.

“We did get one vehicle that actually helped try to open our roads - try to get people open and unburied,” said Ward.

Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management Director Joe Plummer says state resources were sent but they aren’t permitted to clean up private property.

Until the temperature warms up and the snow starts to melt, Ward says if you’re stuck the fire department is just a 911 call away.

“We’ll get somebody there to get you out. Even if we have to get a contractor or somebody out there, somebody will get out to help you,” he said.