Crews Making Progress with Nicholson Ice Jams

NICHOLSON -- Ice jams on a creek in Wyoming County are still causing concerns for residents living nearby, but crews say they are making progress in clearing the creek.

Crews continue to clear ice from Martins Creek in Nicholson. They stopped working Wednesday around 6 p.m. and picked up where they left off Thursday morning, only to find that everything they had cleared refroze overnight.

Crews have been working since Tuesday clearing those ice jams along the creek, facing challenges like the sub-freezing temperatures along the way.

"It's been freezing, and what we accomplished yesterday froze over this morning, so we had to start over," said Wyoming County EMA Director Eugene Dziak.

Despite setbacks, crews are determined to have the creek flowing as soon as possible.

"One of the things we've got to make sure we do is get it out of here before the weekend. I'm seeing temperatures creeping up into the 40s, 45 degrees. We need to get this ice out of here."

Two excavators and a backhoe were brought in to help clear the ice jams, and they are making progress. Slowly, large chunks of ice are breaking off and floating downstream.

But officials say sometimes once ice breaks free, it gets backed up farther downstream, forcing the machines to go back and forth and making the clearing of the jam a constant battle.

Despite the difficulties the crews are facing clearing ice jams, the nearby Nicholson food pantry at the Nicholson United Methodist Church was open.

"We're not opened again (until) the second Thursday in February, so there is a stretch there, so this is important," said Joan Kupetsky.

Neighbors of the food pantry were not so lucky. Some homes and businesses faced flooding and heat loss.

Officials tell Newswatch 16 that homes we reported having flooding and heat loss have received assistance and have their heat back on.

Nicholson's mayor has been overseeing the situation and says the community is coming together to join the effort.

"We've had great support, one, from just the people here that live in Nicholson, all of the gas companies, numerous businesses have helped out tremendously with donations with monetary funds and equipment, and we wouldn't be able to do it without the support of everyone around here," said Mayor Charles Litwin.

Crews will continue to clear the ice throughout the day and hope these recent breaks in the jams are a sign of what's to happen here in the next few hours.