By Licia Jackson
Published Oct. 8, 2015
Richland County will extend the midnight through 6 a.m. curfew at least through Sunday night into Monday, according to Sheriff Leon Lott.
“It will be enforced. We arrested two looters this morning,” Lott said. “We have zero tolerance for any type of looting or stealing going on.”
The two arrested were found taking property and street signs in the Lake Katherine area and they will be charged with unlawful activity in an emergency zone, which is a felony, he said.
The number of deaths due to the flooding has risen to nine, according to Coroner Gary Watts. One person is being sought, he said. The case involving a missing 22-year-old man, reported yesterday, has been resolved.
Law enforcement officers will be charging those who drive around barricades or disobey traffic direction signs, Lott said. The accident on Wednesday that resulted in the deaths of two passengers in a pickup truck happened after someone removed barricades blocking Congaree Road. He said the driver did not know that a bridge was out on the road.
Thirty-five bridges in the county have been identified as unusable and state aid has been requested for temporary repairs, said Torrey Rush, Richland County Council chairman.
Richland County has three emergency shelters operating at St. Andrews Middle School, Lower Richland High School and A.C. Flora High School. A total of 203 people spent the night in the shelters Wednesday night. Food and water is available to anyone who needs it, said Michael Byrd, emergency services director.
The Lower Richland area still has structures that are unreachable due to flooding. Teams are attempting to make contact with all homeowners to offer assistance, said Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Helms.
County offices will be closed on Friday, with a plan to return to normal operations next week.
A website, Richlandmaps.com, is updated with road closures by the hour. The Comet bus service is running eight routes, and information can be obtained by calling 929-6000.