Mutual aid effort hastens the pace

of storm brush removal in Miami Township

By Chuck Gibson 

LOVELAND, OH (July 26, 2022) – Large piles of brush lining the curbsides of Miami Township communities since severe storms and tornadoes struck the area Wednesday, July 6, are disappearing quickly this week as “mutual aid” public works crews from Sycamore Township, City of Montgomery and Springfield Township collaborate with the Service Department crews of Miami Township to clear away the piles.

“We have a formal mutual aid agreement with communities around us as far as Public Works goes,” said John Musselman, Miami Township Service Department Service Director. “Obviously Police and Fire have their own version of mutual aid for situations, but Public Works groups do as well. We’ve had this in place for a long time.”

We draw near to three weeks since the storm tore through the community leaving a widespread wake of toppled trees and downed limbs that late Wednesday afternoon on July 6. Immediately Miami Township administrator Jeff Wright along with Service Department Service Director John Musselman announced to the community special curbside brush pickup would begin within the first week following the storm. The volume of damage and the resulting brush from cleanup was quickly determined to be more than the Miami Township Service Department crews could be expected to clear in a timely and efficient way. Township officials contracted with a couple local contractors to assist in the brush pickup process. The process of brush removal began, but appeared to be slow while Wright explained the volume of work and the process itself could take weeks.

A load of brush is dropped into a Sycamore Twp. Public Works truck during work in Paxton Lake Tuesday, July 26 (Chuck Gibson)

Today, Tuesday, July 26, the mutual aid efforts from Sycamore Township, the City of Montgomery and Springfield Township combined with the crews of Miami Township Service Department have clearly hastened the pace of brush removal throughout the stricken adjoining communities of Paxton Woods, South, Lake and Bend as well as Tanglewood, Mitchell Farms and Weber Oaks. Piles of brush are disappearing. Brian and his crew from Sycamore Township and City of Montgomery made quick work of it throughout the Paxton Lake community Tuesday morning.

“We are here for the week,” Brian said. “Last week we were helping in Goshen.”

He credited Bill Pittman, Symmes Township Director of Public Works, for organizing the mutual aid efforts responding to Goshen following the tornado touchdown there and now following up here in Miami Township. Likewise, John Musselman offered praise for Pittman’s efforts coordinating the mutual aid assistance from other municipalities.  

City of Montgomery Public Works helped provide mutual aid to pickup storm brush in Miami Township neighborhoods (Chuck Gibson)

“The Public Works groups around here; the Hamilton County group and Public Works groups of Southwest Ohio have always worked really well,” Musselman said. “Actually Bill Pittman with Symmes Township has been spearheading the organization of the mutual aid response.”

Musselman said when it was clear help was needed here in Miami Township, he reached out to Goshen and was directed to Bill Pittman who was organizing all the mutual aid. In his words: “Pittman kind of rode herd over getting this all organized.”  One call to Pittman and he got aid all set up for Miami Township.

Trucks from Sycamore Twp. and City of Montgomery were lined up and ready to go (Chuck Gibson)

“We’ve got Montgomery, Sycamore and Springfield Township in here,” said Musselman. “We were going to have another community, but I ended up telling them to stay (in Goshen) because I think we have enough help with the three we have, no sense dragging somebody else out here.”

If the progress made by those crews Monday and Tuesday this week is any sign, then Miami Township does have enough help now. Piles of brush are disappearing from the curbsides all around the affected neighborhoods in Miami Township.

Only leaves remain where a large pile of tree limbs and storm brush lined the curb in Paxton Lake (Chuck Gibson)

The Service Department and Miami Township offices have actually received calls from residents complimenting the work being done now. The brush pickup may have started slow, but Musselman says the residents have been very patient and understanding throughout the process. He believes the brush pickup may be completed quicker than it was first thought now that the cavalry has arrived.

The piles of brush are disappearing. 

“We’ll probably wrap up, I think tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27) if everything goes well,” Musselman said. “I was trying to avoid taking help away from Goshen, but they assured me they would be okay if we got a little help ourselves. That really was a huge improvement.”

NOTE: For additional information, please contact the Service Department at 513-248-3728 or the Township Administration at 513-248-3725.