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RIEGELWOOD, NC (WECT) –
Many people are on edge or at wit’s end after going through the full force of Hurricane Florence. Nothing compares to the frustration that Chief Steve Camlin feels in the storm’s aftermath. He says many people dropped the ball on this one.
“[There were] people coming in here from Mutual Aid from other parts of the state, and evidently they had never been in a storm and they got scared and they hauled a–,” Camlin said. “They left. They abandoned us.”
If the hours after the storm weren’t stressful enough, Chief Camlin claims the people in the Acme-Delco-Riegelwood District were neglected by those who are supposed to protect and serve the community.
“No help out of law enforcement whatsoever, not a John Brown bit. If the lights were on in Whiteville they were going back to Whiteville before the street lights came on. It’s like they couldn’t be down here.”
The chief says the lack of police presence led to lawlessness in the streets of Columbus County, prompting firemen to take control of the area before anarchy set in.
“So basically all of the firemen are toting weapons to make sure we maintain order in our little world right here.”
Camlin said people tried to loot businesses, while others even threatened firemen after being confronted about crossing barricades into restricted areas. He calls this part of the state the “forgotten section.”
“Nobody had good planning on this. This is like Fran and Bertha all over again.”
He says state politicians are not doing a good enough job of handling the situation, and that they need to figure out how to send help to the counties along the river basin as the tide begins to rise.
“They need to get out here in the ditches and see the pain and the gain that people are doing and understand what’s going on.”
Despite his frustrations, the chief is taking care of the community he serves. He helped get a medical center and a nearby gas station up and running with power using the fire station’s generator.
“It eases people’s pain to where they can get some relief and at the same time it gives them a sense of normalcy back.”
This fire chief just wants the people in his community to not have to suffer through another disaster.
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