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Crews Burn Through Chainsaws Cleaning Up Iced-Over Worthington

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77692_Bill Hudson WEB Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As if the devastation from Wednesday’s ice storm wasn’t enough, seven inches of heavy wet snow are adding to the problems residents face in Worthington, Minn.

For many, there is still no power, but for everyone, there’s a huge cleanup ahead.

The sound of chainsaws highlights the devastation along every city block of Worthington. There are tens of thousands of trees shredded by the weight of thick ice and heavy snow.

Resident Gail Holinka said the community is coming together to help pick up the frozen pieces.

“We’ve been helping other people in town, and now they’re [going] to help us today, so…when you work together, it makes a job a little easier to handle,” she said.

Power is still out across much of the area. Temporary stop signs are up due to stop lights being down, and many stores and gas stations remain closed. With no electricity, the stores that are open — like Casey’s General Store — are accepting only cash.

“No lights, no nothin’, we’ll just light a candle, play cards, or something like that,” said Frances Gallegos, an employee at Casey’s.

Teams of firefighters cruised neighborhoods Thursday, clearing streets. One crew had burned out two chainsaws.

Help is pouring in from other cities for the recovery effort. Even so, Worthington’s landscape won’t be the same.

“It wasn’t a tornado event…But look around, our town will be forever changed. Our trees look pretty pathetic right now,” said Al Oberloh, the city’s mayor.

On Wednesday, the city declared a state of emergency. That remains in effect, so cleanup crews can be contracted.

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