PRINCETON — On Oct. 7, BuEComm dispatchers were able to move back into the 911 center after the Aug. 10 derecho wreaked havoc on their building and tower.
The heavy wind storm twisted the 911 tower, which blew over and damage the building’s roof causing flooding into the center.
On that day, 911 calls were temporarily sent over to LaSalle County while dispatchers moved to a mobile command unit and Bureau County Sheriff's Office before they could go back online, which they were that same day. They worked in those two locations until restoration on the building could be completed.
Things like painting and new flooring in the center are still ongoing, but should be finished up by the end of the month.
Diana Stiles, BuEComm director, said the move back into the center did not come without its hiccups, but it did go better than expected. There were some phone, radio and internet connection issues, but most of it was IT-related, she said.
The new 911 tower is not up yet. Stiles said BuEComm is using a temporary portable tower the county loaned to them.
“This did help immensely but we still have some intermittent communication issues because the tower is smaller and the antenna is not as high now as it was but we are working through that,” she said.
The bills for the damage to the 911 center are starting to roll in.
On Tuesday, Bureau County Board reviewed insured costs from damage repairs at BuEComm. The board approved a bill from Quentech Inc. in the amount of $10,407.25 for rewiring services and a bill from Werner Restoration in the amount of $10,000 for restoration services.
While damages to the building are covered under the county’s CERMA insurance policy, Stiles said there will be some damages that will have to be paid for out of the 911 budget. Just how much those damages will cost are still unknown at this point.
While this experience has not changed how 911 does things, Stiles said the board is working on rewriting its continuity of operations plan to address things that they found they need to do better and prepare for if something like this ever happens again.
There were a lot of organizations and individuals who came running to assist BuEComm following the derecho. Stiles is grateful for all the help. A list of these individuals/organizations include state Rep. Dan Swanson, Bureau County Emergency Management Director Keenan Campbell, Key Builders, Another Plumbing Co., Sterling Commercial Roofing, Wendler Engineering, Studio K Architecture, 1-800 Board Up, L.W. Schneider, Barnhart Crane and Rigging, Ag View FS, Barbeck Communications, Marshall County 911, LaSalle County 911, Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch, Elmore Electric, City of Princeton, Wervers Cleaning & Restoration, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Humpty Dumpty Dumpster, Pac-Van Storage Rentals, Princeton Police Department, Quentech Inc., Jim Shipp, 911 board chairman, Adam Rabe, Bureau County Sheriff’s Office Tech, Bureau County Board, Rapid SOS, Cimco Recyclers, Crescent Electric, Second Story Teen Center, Steve Taylor, Bureau County Emergency Management Agency and Mike Hult.