Residents can dump tree debris for free at four spots in Fort Wayne:
•The parking lot of Swinney Park pool
•The parking lot of Tillman Park near the Tillman Road entrance
•Shoaff Park at Conklin Pavilion
•The city’s Biosolids Facility at 6210 Lake Ave., west of Maplecrest Road.
The hours of the Biosolids Facility have been extended: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
With Friday’s storm toppling more than 500 trees in Fort Wayne, Mayor Tom Henry estimates it will take three to four months before cleanup crews have collected all the downed trunks and branches.
At a news conference Sunday, Henry said residents can help by moving fallen trees and limbs to the curb, where city crews will start picking them up later this week. City workers, for liability reasons, won’t be able to take trees off private property.
For residents with downed trees in their yards or on their houses, city officials suggested hiring one of the tree-removal companies in the area.
“They are inundated right now obviously with the damage that we have, but that is your best route,” city forester Chad Tinkel said.
The mayor reminded the public that the ban on burning tree branches and anything else remains in effect in Fort Wayne and Allen County.
“Do not burn those branches. You will be cited,” he warned. “Also stay away from any wires that are down. You may think it’s a cable wire or a telephone wire, but it could be a live electrical wire.”
As of Sunday evening, more than 60,000 homes and businesses in Allen County, including Fort Wayne, were without electricity, according to the Indiana Michigan Power website. The outages should be repaired by the end of Wednesday at the latest, utility spokesman Dave Mayne said.
“We expect to have the majority of customers restored before late Wednesday night,” he said.
Mayne said 95 percent of the distribution circuits in the Fort Wayne area were damaged or had service interrupted by the storm.
The magnitude of the problem led the utility company to call in more than 200 additional workers from other states. “Currently, we have crews working around the clock to get power restored throughout the city,” Mayne said.
Elsewhere in the area, I&M customers in DeKalb, Noble, Whitley, Huntington, Wells and Adams counties should have power back by this afternoon. Customers in Blackford County should have electricity by late tonight, the utility company said.
On Sunday afternoon, another storm swept through northeast Indiana damaging trees and producing hail. Winds in excess of 50 mph blew through Steuben and Wells counties, according to reports submitted to the National Weather Service.
The lack of power combined with 90-degree heat has prompted dozens of Fort Wayne residents to take refuge in the air-conditioning of the American Red Cross shelter in the First Assembly of God church on West Washington Center Road near Lima Road.
Ninety people stayed at the shelter Saturday night, and at least 80 people were expected to sleep there Sunday night, said Katherine MacAulay, the chief operations officer for the local Red Cross chapter.
“We’re going to stay open as long as residents need assistance,” she said.
Since the storm hit, about 150 city employees and private contractors have been working to clear streets blocked by trees, utility wires and other debris.
In a statement Sunday, the city said all major streets should be open by today. Still, drivers will have to deal with traffic signals that are not working. As of Sunday afternoon, 54 traffic signals remained disabled throughout the city, notably the intersection of Coldwater Road and Coliseum Boulevard.
“Please treat these intersections as a four-way stop,” Henry said.
Police Chief Rusty York said a couple of minor crashes occurred at these intersections shortly after the signals stopped working but since then things have run smoothly.
“The accidents we’re experiencing now typically aren’t involving those intersections,” he said.
York said stop signs have been installed at some of the major intersections with disabled traffic signals.
He added that officers may be posted at those intersections, particularly ones in downtown, to help traffic flow during this morning’s rush hour.