Bessemer needs volunteers to help tornado recovery

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s been 39 days since a tornado swept through Bessemer and since then there has been a lot of progress, the streets are clear. There is still a lot of downed trees and debris in yards around the city.

The problem is that the city of Bessemer cannot go onto private property and pick the debris up. However, volunteers can go onto the property. That is why a group of volunteer organizations is asking for help to finish the cleanup.

“Even though it looks like Bessemer has been cleaned up and there is no more debris, once you get into the guts of the city there is more debris than you realize,” Heather Turner with the Jefferson County Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) said.

Most of the debris that is left is on private property and the people who live there need help getting rid of it, but the city can’t legally help them out.

“We pick up what’s called a ‘Right of Entry’ that allows a volunteer organization to go onto a property. We also get liability releases and unfortunately the government is not allowed to do those things,” Ron Turney with Lutheran Ministries of Alabama said.

Jefferson County VOAD and Lutheran Ministries of Alabama are asking for anyone who wants to volunteer to meet at the Bessemer Civic Center starting at 9 AM Saturday. They will be working until 4 PM and volunteers can show up at any time.

They ask that you be at least 16 years old and dress to work outside. Wear tennis shoes or hard soled shoes and bring gloves.

Copyright WIAT 42 News 2014

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