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Waverly to end curfew Thursday night as flood recovery continues

waverly flooding damage august 2021
Posted at 1:30 PM, Aug 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 15:46:25-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — The City of Waverly is lifting its curfew Thursday night as recovery efforts continue after this past weekend's deadly, catastrophic flooding in Humphreys County.

Waverly Department of Public Safety Chief Grant Gillespie announced the update on Thursday, adding that they wanted to reopen businesses. He said while they have not had any problems so far, they will have an increased police presence for the next few days, possibly weeks.

"Don’t come to Waverly if you’re intent on stealing from folks," Gillespie warned.

Mayor Buddy Frazier said the city will remain under a boil water advisory for the next several days. Humphreys County schools will remain closed for next week.

911 Director Bobby Brown also spoke today and explained that the agency staffs 11 personnel and four positions for call takers. They are the public safety point for the county. At the time of the flooding, they had two dispatchers on.

Brown said at 6:30 a.m., they called for help. He himself couldn't get to the center because of six feet of water. He eventually made out of his home at 9 a.m.

At 9:47 a.m., he said they lost everything to the center except communications through radio. Brown said he started making calls to AT&T and transferred calls to cells.

Brown said Dickson County 911 also received calls from 9:47 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Around 11 a.m., they made contact with Verizon and got cell service to the 911 center. At around 7 p.m., Brown said he left McEwen to get to the 911 center.

Around 10 p.m., he said Verizon was able to deliver a mobile pod. Firefighters also took calls for 911 in vehicles. At 10:30 p.m. they had everything back under the 911 roof.

Brown said AT&T also came to assist and carried through the night using that system. At 5 a.m. Sunday, an AT&T switch was reported damaged. At noon, AT&T restored internet.

By Monday, they were back to being operational.

"We learned a lot of things at the Christmas explosion that helped this process move along a lot quicker than probably we would have had we not had that experience," Brown said.

T-Mobile is also helping by handing out devices with 30 days of free service. The company said customers can switch over to a regular plan after the 30 days.

Thursday's update comes one day after Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis announced that the number of deaths had risen to 20. After a body was recovered on Wednesday morning, the city's missing person list was cleared.

Detectives will now investigate each of the deaths individually to find out exactly what happened to each of the victims.

Mental health aids and chaplains are also on scene to help first responders deal with the trauma they have witnessed during the last few days. Chief Gillespie said he hated that the younger officers had to see what they did, given how fresh they were into their careers as law enforcement officers.

The two said Highway 70 should completely reopen by Friday, according to their dispatches with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. CSX is also working to fix the railroad issues in the city.

Watch Thursday's full update: