Cordova, AL residents are asked to stay away during clean-up

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

CORDOVA, AL (WTVM) -  It's understandable to have people want to go back to their damaged homes to gather their belongings, but police in Cordova are urging residents to stay out.

Cordova Fire Chief Dean Harbison told News Leader Nine, "All of our downtown block, the buildings are pretty much unusable. We're still waiting on a declaration from the engineers. Right now the whole area is restricted because it's not safe to go in."

Another group who is holding up the clean-up process… curious drivers.

"The main problem we're having right now is sight-seers. The sight-seers need to stay away. Alabama Power and other utility companies who are in here can't get their jobs done for people in the way," explained Keith Knight, who works with Servpro in Walker County.

Police and fire crews have set up a command center in Cordova and have asked residents to stay out. Even members of one church had to find somewhere else to worship Sunday as clean-up crews begin to pick up the pieces of their community.

Fire Chief Harbison told News Leader Nine, "We have several churches in the area but this is definitely the oldest. One of the first churches was on this site in the community. It's of course grown so you can see what it used to be, but it's one of the biggest churches in the community."

Workers are being sent from all over the state to help with the relief efforts and to make sure the area remains secure.

"All police chiefs are sending me aid and sending me other officers from pretty much every department in the state of Alabama. That's how we're able to control and isolate the downtown area from being looted and we have patrols in the outer areas with non-local law enforcement officers," said Cordova Police Chief Kenneth Bobo.

The police department has issued a mandatory curfew, saying anyone on the streets between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be arrested.

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