Borderline temperatures and a half inch of snow wreaked havoc on Franklin County Monday, sending first responders in seemingly every direction to traffic accidents.
Although flurries were in the skies most of the morning, the heaviest snow began falling around 2 p.m. Monday and the increased emergency calls followed about an hour later.
Despite the high volume of calls, very few of the car accidents resulted in injuries and even those were reported to be minor.
Franklin County Emergency Management (EMA) director Abe Cook said county dispatch centers fielded 205 emergency calls on Monday.
“Between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. they had 113 calls,” Cook said. “On a normal day we average 120 in a 24-hour period.”
Cook added 38 calls came in the 3 o’clock hour; 39 in the 4 o’clock hour; and 36 in the 5 o’clock hour. After that, call volume returned to normal.
He stressed there were dozens more traffic crashes throughout the county, which did not require police, EMS and fire responses and did not result in a 911 call.
Washington firefighters responded to eight total calls on Monday, five of which were vehicle crashes resulting in only minor injuries and no EMS transports.
Four of the five crashes occurred on Highway 100, the most significant was at Highway 100 and A. Roy Drive where firefighters used rescue tools to extricate the driver.
Washington EMA Director Mark Skornia said the SUV was traveling westbound on Highway 100 when it left the roadway and hit a pole at the A. Roy Drive intersection.
The SUV bounced off of the pole and collided with another vehicle exiting the Walmart parking lot.
Skornia said the SUV also hit a Missouri Department of Transportation control box, causing the lights at the intersection to be on flash for a period of time.
While crews worked the accident scene, Washington police directed traffic in the intersection.
Other wrecks on Highway 100 included the intersections of Highway A, Jones Lane and St. John’s Road.
Washington also was requested to assist Marthasville Fire Department with a traffic crash.
Skornia said the department responded to three additional nonweather-related calls Monday, including to alarms sounding and one carbon monoxide detector at a residence.
The Union Fire Department responded to nine motor vehicle crashes Monday, including two rollover accidents, but none resulted in serious injuries.
Fire Chief Russ Hamilton said the major trouble spot in Union was Highway 50 east of Highway 47.
Despite there being no injuries, Hamilton said one of the rollovers in that section of roadway did require firefighters to cut the windshield out of the vehicle to extricate the driver.
“The hillside going up 50 toward the college, people were having trouble going up and coming down,” Hamilton said. “We had calls as far out as Highway AJ and Prairie Dell.”
Hamilton added the emergency calls began about 3:30 p.m. Monday and the last call was around 8 p.m.
None of the Union fire calls Monday were on Interstate 44.
The same wasn’t true for St. Clair firefighters as they responded to two accidents on Interstate 44 Monday afternoon.
Fire Chief Craig Sullivan said his department had 11 total calls Monday and eight were motor vehicle crashes.
“They were all minor in nature,” Sullivan said. “Most of them were slide offs into the ditch and we were able to get the cars out on a few of them.”
Sullivan said the first call was at 3 p.m. and the final was about 7:15 p.m. spread all over the district.
In addition to the two on Interstate 44, Sullivan said St. Clair firefighters responded to accidents on the North Outer Road, Prairie Dell, and Highways 30 and M.
The other calls were fire alarm systems most likely set off by the cold weather.
Of all the wrecks in the general area Monday afternoon, the only reported injury with a transport to the hospital was in the Boles Fire District.
Fire Chief Jim Casey said his crews responded to eight vehicle accidents during the snowstorm and seven resulted in no injuries.
Although much of the district includes the interstate, Casey said only one of the calls was in that area.
“It was on the Interstate 44 on- ramp,” Casey said. “At the Washington exit.”
With another batch of winter weather headed this way over the next few days, the third in less than a week, both Cook and Skornia are taking a wait and see approach.
“We knew this was coming, but who would have thought a half inch of snow could cause such a mess,” Skornia said. “We are always watching the weather and the street department knows what to do. Just like last Friday, we’ll have to wait and see what the temperature is.”