Firewood program in Roane County helping homeowners with heat bills

HARRIMAN (WATE) – Roane County officials are taking the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” to heart, while at the same time helping others who may be struggling to keep their home warm this winter.

The Roane County Highway Department launched their “Wood Program” this week where fallen trees are split and ready to be picked up by homeowners. Melvin Jones, 81, is taking home a truck full of wood.

“It makes a good emergency fuel in case the power goes off. We’ll have something to stay warm with,” he said.

The Roane County Highway Department stockpiled this firewood as a way to save taxpayers.

“We were paying about $45 a load to take the wood to the landfill,” said Superintendent Dennis Ferguson.

The wood not being trashed is instead helping those who may not be able to afford heating their home. Members of the Piney Grove Baptist Church stopped by Wednesday morning to pick up a load for an elderly couple.

“Both of them is in bad health. He’s on oxygen and he burns a lot of wood in the winter for heat. We’re just doing this to help him out,” said member Henry Robinson.

The Roane County Highway Department stockpiled this firewood as a way to save taxpayers.
The Roane County Highway Department stockpiled this firewood as a way to save taxpayers.

The lumber is coming from trees that have fallen in storms or ones blocking roads.

“We’ve already loaded as of today, I think 36 to 37 loads between Monday to today,” added Ferguson.

Homeowners have to call and be added to a waiting list.

“Anybody in Roane County can take the wood. They just can’t take it across county lines,” said Ferguson.

It’s the Highway Department’s way to go green and it’s good news to many.

“This wood is really a help to them. It’s just a blessing for them to get this wood,” said Robinson.

RCHD is partnering with electric companies like Harriman Utility Board and Rockwood Electric Utility, in that when a crew cuts down a tree it’s added to the stockpile.

If you would like to be added to the list, you can call RCHD at (865) 882-9782. Before a pick up, you’ll be given required paperwork to fill out.

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