Batesville Fire Department readies for remnants of Isaac

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana Tuesday, and forecasters have since downgraded its strength to a tropical storm.

The remnants of Isaac have begun a slow trek into the state, with severe weather expected to reach Northeast Arkansas in the next few days.

The storm's effects have at least one local fire department preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

The Batesville Fire Department began readying Wednesday for any inclement weather to come. The firefighters follow a certain protocol, but they have seen the effects of a hurricane firsthand.

That's why Chief Brent Gleghorn has kept a close watch on the path of the storm for several days now.

"We're pretty good ways east of the main storm track, which is going to possibly create more weather for us," Gleghorn said. "It could be wind. It could be rain. It could be a combination."

No matter the severity, Gleghorn says his department began its routine to prepare for an increased risk of strong storms.

"Our job is to be here for the citizens of Batesville and Independence County," he said, "and we're just trying to be prepared and be proactive and not reactive."

The firefighters first checked to see if their generators were running properly.

Gleghorn says damaging winds could bring down power lines, so his men have to make sure they are ready to help anyone that may lose power.

They also readied their chainsaws, which came in use four years ago.

What was left of Hurricane Ike blew through Batesville in 2008, taking out trees around town and pulling down power lines.

"I'm not trying to scare people," the chief added, "but you got to think ahead and be prepared."

Gleghorn says he is unsure if Isaac will cause as much damage as Ike, but he hopes the storm at least brings the area some much-needed rainfall.

"If all we gets a rain, fantastic," he said. "Arkansas got some rain finally, and hopefully our burn ban will be off for a while."

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