Two Fulton icons weathered Aug. 10 storm, but toll taken on trees, power lines

Fisher Boy and the de Immigrant Windmill weathered what Mother Nature threw at them last Monday, but that wasn’t the case for many trees and electrical pole and wires in this Mississippi River town.

Hundreds of electrical repair workers and tree trimmers covered the town on Saturday working to clear fallen trees and replace electrical wires and shattered utility poles.

Chainsaws and generators could be heard throughout the town as some residents endured their fifth day without electricity.

City Administrator Randy Boonstra praised the response of village staff, ComEd crews, and the citizens.

“As far as the clean up goes, our public works crews have been cleaning since the storm stopped. They’ve done a phenomenal job getting the streets cleared,” he said. “They’ve hauled away 300 loads of debris, and there may be that much more to get through. They’ll be working this week and next to continue clean-up.”

Paul Banker was busy touching up paint on the backside of the de Immigrant Windmill on Saturday.

“We just had one window blow out,” he said. “The windmill is designed to withstand 100 mph winds.”

Up the street, the large metal Fisher Boy was unscathed as nearby repair workers unraveled twisted electrical wires caused by a mature tree that was uprooted in the storm and took down the nearby utility pole.

The metal artwork was just recently moved from its former spot across the street.

At the 1912 building located between Fisher Boy and the windmill, Jill Nederhoff carefully picked up shards of the glass entry door that was blown out in the storm.

Downtown, the flag pole that honors Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War I veterans was blown over. The memorial was presented by the Women’s Civic Club in 1927.

One downtown block remained closed due with one store having its shattered window covered with plywood and another left with a twisted metal awning.

Crews were busy in the residential area north of the downtown clearing trees and replacing power lines and poles. A large pile of broken limbs and tree trunks remained at the edge of the cemetery.

The street to Heritage Canyon was closed to any traffic while crews worked to clear the trees and replace poles and wires.

At the south end of town a large dumpster for spoiled food was nearly filled.

“This is what we had at the bottom of our freezer,” said one resident. “It’s so sad. We have power now today, but the food was gone.”

Though the efforts to restore electricity took longer than everyone hoped, with the scale of damage it’s understandable, Boonstra said on Monday.

“ComEd has done an amazing job. They’ve had their own contractors here on site, and some from Louisiana, Texas, and Maryland. There’s been an army of people here,” he said. “All our power in the community was restored by Saturday night. They’ve done a great job in communicating, with the VP of Operations even coming around to check on the progress.”

Boonstra said a contractor told him he’s never seen a city the size of Fulton with such destruction from end to end.

“There’s still a lot of things to clean up, it’s a methodical process,” Boonstra said. “The citizens have been great - patient, cooperative, understanding, and working with each other.”