No storm-related deaths as emergency crews aid more than 200 cars off the roads

Dan Smith

WATERTOWN, NY (WWNY) - When the 2022 blizzard is over, people on the ground answering emergency calls say their day at the office is just over.

"Everyone realizes, 'Okay, I'll probably get called in early and probably stay late,' and you just get through it. And the more you're out there, the better off you'll be." said Timerman.

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Ben Thyman said the sheriff's deputies worked with other agencies, fire and EMS personnel to withstand the elements, deploying sleds and UTVs to get stranded on northern roads. He says he saved someone.

He said there was such a high volume of calls that the crew had to prioritize more life-threatening situations. Between Jefferson County and St. Lawrence County, more than 200 vehicles were shunted off the road.

“We realized that the tow trucks couldn’t get out right away. Many people were stuck in their cars for hours, sometimes eight to 12 hours, at which point we started getting them out. We'll take him outside and take him to a warming center," Timerman said.

Warming centers were set up at local fire stations in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. Some stayed for a night or two over the holiday weekend.

“Many of the people trapped or isolated were not from this county. It's a concerted effort by all emergency services and that's the main goal," said St. Lawrence County Sheriff Brooks Big Wharf.

Matt Denner, St. Lawrence County's EMS director, said no deaths have been reported in the county due to local efforts.

Jefferson County Emergency Management Officer Joe Plummer reiterated that volunteers played a big role.

“I think what comes out of it all is that everyone knows their job, and everyone is at the heart of helping, and they really do,” says Plummer. said.

At the end of the day, State Police Captain Robert Simpson says that's what they signed up for.

“Our overall goal is to make sure everyone is safe at the end of the day, so another job well done by all responders and everyone involved in the incident. All of our agencies were involved in this, not just our agency," Simpson said.