Columbia continues limb removal, nets tons of spoiled food

COLUMBIA, Mo. - City departments continued removing fallen tree limbs Monday afternoon, nearly a week after a storm hit the area. 

Parks and Rec employee Steve Fritz called the damage left behind by the storm "excessive." He and other employees had spent the entire week just at Nifong Park, cutting large limbs to haul away, and trimming branches it deemed dangerous. 

Garrett Stark is interning with Park and Rec this summer, and says cutting and hauling the limbs is just part of the job.

Crews with Columbia Water & Light told ABC 17 News last week's storm caused some of the worst damage in recent memory. Strong winds blew many trees into power lines, which caused thousands of Columbia residents to lose power. The department said Friday that everyone in town had electricity.

The loss of power also caused a loss of refrigerated food. Columbia Public Works held a spoiled food drive Saturday afternoon. The department released results from the drive Monday, saying it gathered 7,100 pounds of spoiled food. With 122 people dropping off food, the city collected around 58 pounds of food per person. Public Works department spokesman Steven Sapp said the food was taken straight to the landfill, so the spoiled food wouldn't cause any potential diseases while sitting in the city dumpsters.

Public Works is still taking requests for a special tree limb pickup from Columbia residents' houses. Sapp said the pickup will take place Saturday at 7 a.m. Sapp said limbs must be five feet long or less, since the high loaders the city uses can hold nothing longer.

People who want to have debris picked up should call 573-441-5550 by Thursday at 5 p.m. Sapp said if a truck doesn't pick up the debris by Saturday, some trucks will run on Sunday.

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