Helen Pedestrian Bridge Approved Again

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HELEN, Ga. – A contract for the construction of the long-awaited — and now more expensive — pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee River along Main Street was awarded to Square Deal Enterprises again at Tuesday’s Helen City Council meeting.

Council originally approved the contract in June for $586,022 but was forced to rebid the project because it will be funded, in part, by federal Transportation Enhancement dollars through the Georgia Department of Transportation. The original bid did not include a provision requiring a portion of the work to be completed by minority or woman-owned business.

The bid approved Tuesday was for $623,022.

The bridge will connect the sidewalks that front The Castle Inn and Café International and is identical to the bridge that exists in front of Paul’s Steakhouse on the opposite side of Main Street.

Four companies submitted bids in June but only one met the federal requirement and it was $270,000 higher than Square Deal’s bid. The council then had to choose between accepting the higher bid or rebidding the project. They chose the latter.

The bid now goes to GDOT for final approval.

City Manager Jerry Elkins was approved to serve on the Northeast Georgia Housing Authority.

Council also approved the addition on another entrance/exit for the city fire department and the second reading of an ordinance to amend Chapter 6 of the city’s municipal code as it relates to alcoholic beverages.

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Firefighters Rescue Hiker Who Fell From Top of Raven Cliff Waterfall

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CLEVELAND, Ga – An unidentified hiker was injured Wednesday when he fell from the top of the waterfall area of Raven Cliff at about 3 p.m.

White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said in an email that the hiker had gone to the top of the falls where he slipped and fell onto the last ledge before the main drop of the falls (approximately 55 foot vertical drop). White said firefighters from White County’s Stations 2 and 3 with mutual aid from the City of Helen Fire Department and Lee Arrendale Fire Brigade responded to the call and removed the hiker from the falls to an area where Georgia State Patrol aviation using a Bell 429 helicopter with a hoist extracted the hiker and transported him to White County Med 2 where he was further evaluated and then transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment.

White said the injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.

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White County Aids Towns Co. in Mountain Rescue

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Public Safety Director David MurphyCLEVELAND, Ga. — One day after rescuing a lost hiker from a snow covered trail in the Cow Rock Mountain area White County firefighters were searching for an injured person on the Appalachian Trail near Unicoi Gap in Towns County.

White County Public Safety Director David Murphy said temperatures were in the teens when the White County rescuers met up with Towns County Fire/EMS at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The City of Helen Fire Department was called in to provide an ATV because the Towns County ATV had mechanical problems.
Once the patient was located, it was determined the injuries were non-life threatening and he was transported by ATV to a waiting Towns County med unit.

White County firefighters terminated the call just after midnight. The patient had non-life threatening injuries; the call lasted 5 hours from the time of initial response to termination of the call.

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Coroner IDs Body Found in Home That Exploded

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — CLEVELAND, Ga. — White County Coroner Ricky Barrett today identified the body found in the remains of the home that exploded at 64 Rhododendron Lane as 71-year-old Edgar Brummett of Sautee Nacoochee.
Georgia Fire Marshall Public Information Officer Glen Allen said a propane gas leak caused the explosion that completely destroyed the home and damaged several others.

The home was owned by John Edgar Boyes but no other injuries were reported.

“We do know it was a propane gas leak but we have not determined at this time what caused the leak,” Allen said.

Rhododendron Lane is located in Mt. Yonah Scenic Estates in White County.
Units from the White County Fire Department, Helen Fire Department, White County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Forestry Service all responded.

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Fire Marshal Confirms Gas Leak Caused Fatal Explosion

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — Georgia Fire Marshall Public Information Officer Glen Allen confirmed Monday that a propane gas leak caused the explosion at 64 Rhododendron Lane in White County that killed one person, completely destroyed one home and damages several others.

Allen said the owner of the home is John Edgar Boyes but he added the identity of the male victim could not be released pending an autopsy. No other injuries were reported.

“We do know it was a propane gas leak but we have not determined at this time what caused the leak,” Allen said.

Rhododendron Lane is located in Mt. Yonah Scenic Estates in White County.

Units from the White County Fire Department, Helen Fire Department, White County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Forestry Service all responded.

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Man Killed When Home on Rhododendron Lane Explodes

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CLEVELAND, Ga. — A White County man was killed and several homes suffered damage when a home exploded at 64 Rhododendron Lane in Mt. Yonah Scenic Estates around 10:48 a.m. Friday.

White County Sheriff Neal Walden said this afternoon that the home was completely destroyed along with several surrounding structures and while examining the scene and debris, the man’s body was located. Officials had not released the man’s identification late Friday pending an autopsy by the state crime lab.

Walden added that units from the White County Fire Department, Helen Fire Department, White County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Forestry Service responded and that investigators are attempting do determine the cause.

The Forestry Services worked to ensure the explosion didn’t ignite fires to the surrounding forest.

Public Safety Director Murphy told reporters Friday afternoon that “ It appears a propane leak inside the residence caused the explosion.”

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Skylake Fire Under Investigation

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WHITE COUNTY, Ga. — Firefighters were called to the scene of a residential fire at 1356 Woodbrier in the Skylake Community shortly after midnight Sunday.

Units from White County Fire Stations, 2,3 and 6 responded along with Automatic Aid from the City of Helen and Lee Arrendale Correctional Institute but the fire was fully involved when they arrived.

Upon arrival of the first fire units, all occupants were out of the home and stated they had been out of town and had just returned to find the home heavy with fire.

Firefighters extinguished the fire at the structure and also where it had extended into the woods. Georgia Forestry was called to the scene and assisted in putting out what hot spots remained. They returned later in the day to extinguish additional hot spots. Habersham

State Fire Investigator, Robbie Wilkins, was called to the scene where the fire is currently under investigation.

The Red Cross was not called as the residents stated they had family in the County and would be staying with them.
Firefighters were on scene for approximately five hours. No injuries were reported.

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Firefighters Kept Busy on Weekend Leading Up to Thanksgiving

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CLEVELAND, Ga. – While most Georgians were making plans to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, White County’s public safety personnel, police and firefighters spent a busy weekend fulfilling their missions.

Public Safety Director David Murphy said in an email firefighters from all White County stations responded to many incidents throughout the weekend, including 10 ilegal burns and brush fires medical calls assisting Emergency Medical Services and auto accident.

On Sunday alone, the calls included structural fires and lost persons on Yonah Mountain.

Early Sunday morning, Murphy said, fire units responded on auto-aide to the city of Helen for a reported Commercial Fire on Edelweiss Strasse, and were later cancelled.

At 10:35 AM, 911 received a call of a structure fire in a commercial building at the Allison Honey Building off Town Creek Road.  Fire Station 5, 6 and 2 along with mutual aid from the City of Cleveland responded to the incident and found approximately a 1200-square foot wood frame structure with heavy fire showing.

Murphy said a quick interior attack knocked down the fire but the building and contents were destroyed.  The fire believed to have started from a wood stove located in the building.  No injuries were reported.

At 11:13 a.m.  911 received a call from two teens on Yonah Mountain. Murphy said, the two had been hiking for about two hours and were lost.  They were off the trail and could not find their way back.  Firefighters from Station 3 and Station 2 responded to the location and located the two hikers at approximately 1:28PM.

At 10:58 p.m., another structure fire was reported at 224 Magnolia Drive. firefighters from Station 2, Station 3 and Mutual Aid from Helen City and Lee Arrendale Correctional Institute responded to the incident. Upon first arrival of Engine 2, they reported heavy fire in a two-story structure.

Firefighters battled the blaze until 12:38 a.m. when the decision was made to go into defensive operations. The Georgia Forestry Commission was notified along with the state fire investigator. Murphy said the residence did not have power. He said the fire was apparently caused by a wood stove in the basement.  Firefighters remained on the scene until approximately 7:30 a.m.  No injuries were reported.

“Our firefighters along with the City of Cleveland and City of Helen do a remarkable job, our volunteers are dedicated and we appreciate the sacrifices they make on behalf of our community to keep us safe.”

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