No storm-related deaths as emergency crews aid more than 200 cars off the roads

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - As the blizzard of 2022 wraps up, those who were on the ground answering emergency calls say it was just another day at the office.

“Everyone realizes ‘Okay, I’m probably going to get called in early and I am probably going to stay late’ and you just get through it. And the more you have out there, the better off you are going to be,” said Timerman.

Ben Timerman with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says deputies worked hand and hand with other agencies and fire and EMS personnel to bear the elements, deploying sleds and UTVs to save those stranded on North Country roadways.

He says with such a high volume of calls, crews had to prioritize more life threatening situations. Between Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, more than 200 cars went off the roads.

“We realized that the wreckers were not going to be able to get out anytime soon and there were a lot of folks that had been stuck in their cars for many hours, up to even 8 or 12 hours, so at that point started taking them out and taking them to warming centers,” said Timerman.

Warming centers were set up at local fire halls in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. Some spent a night or two over the holiday weekend.

“Many of those people that were trapped, or you know isolated, they weren’t from this county. They were traveling through to go home to Canada or other parts of the state. And it was a concerted effort by all emergency services to make sure nobody got hurt and that is the main goal,” said St. Lawrence County Sheriff Brooks Bigwarfe.

St. Lawrence County EMS Director Matt Denner says local efforts led to no reported fatalities in the county.

Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Joe Plummer reiterates that, saying volunteers played a huge role.

“I think the whole thing that comes out of everything is everybody knows their job, everybody has got a heart of gold to help everybody. And they do, they really do that,” said Plummer.

At the end of the day, State Police Captain Robert Simpson says its what they signed up for.

“Our overall goal is to make sure everyone is safe at the end of the day, so it’s another job well done by all of the responders and everyone involved in the incident. Not just our agency, but every agency was involved in this,” said Simpson.