News Alert
Woonsocket Police Seeking Parents of Lost Child

UPDATE: Woonsocket Calling On All Plow Contractors For Help Digging Out

Half of the city's plow fleet, private and public, is out of commission.


UPDATE: 2:10 p.m.: Fire Chief Lataille reports the DPW is still working around the clock to clear roads and remains in immediate need of private snow plow contractors that have a six-wheel dump truck or larger. With half the DPW fleet off the roads due to equipment failure, Lataille estimates snow removal will take 48 hours to complete.

Any interested party should call DPW at 401-767-8883 or 401-767-9286. 

8 a.m.: Fire Chief Gary Lataille says half the city's public and privately hired plows are out of action, putting Woonsocket in immediate need of local contractors to help dig out from under two feet of snow.

Equipment failure is to blame for taking the trucks off the roads, Lataille said.

Lataille said last night while monitoring the storm, he saw several private contractors out clearing local businesses and private drives — the city needs those plow drivers to clear roads now, even if it's one lane, so fire, police and ambulances can navigate the city easily. "We'll take them," Lataille said.

Lataille said the city needs the cooperation of both the contractors and local businesses to put city roads first. He noted most businesses are closed today anyhow, and with a parking ban in place and his plea to residents to stay indoors, contractors' time can be focused on helping the city clear streets so the city can operate. "The city is in extreme need," Lataille said. 

Any interested contractor should call Woonsocket DPW at 401-767-8883. Lataille estimates snow removal will take several days to finish.

Highway Director Rick Lambert said contractors' pay is $70 per hour for contractors with a 4X4 pickup, and $90 per hour if they've got a six-wheeler.

Power-wise, the city weathered the storm in good shape compared to other areas. Woonsocket only has 108 National Grid customers without power. (there are 18,500 customer accounts in Woonsocket). National Grid will systematically repair service, there is no estimated time to repair, Lataille said.

The Regional Shelter in Cumberland has NOT been opened by Red Cross, Lataille reports, and WPD and Woonsocket Fire report normal operations and are so far moderately hindered by the snow amounts.

Erin B. February 09, 2013 at 01:45 PM
HALF of the fleet is down during a historic blizzard that we've been aware of for a week? Where's the preventative maintenance on this equipment? This isn't something that should have been allowed to happen, period. Heaven forbid that someone has an emergency on an unplowed street and suffers for this. Stay safe, everyone!
Steve February 09, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Welcome to Woonsocket, A City on the Move! Equipment broken down, streets and parking lots unplowed, and the Mayor is looking for private help. What a great message to put out to the public when you're trying to draw new business into the city! I guess this is why we pay some of the highest taxes in the state right? You really can't make this stuff up..............
Paul February 09, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Don't plow. You'll get an IOU.
Lori B February 09, 2013 at 03:19 PM
This is a joke right? Maybe some of the out of woonsocket trucks are down due to the hit and runs done last night by some of them. They should know there were plenty of witnesses that watched as the truck backed off the building it hit and proceeded to then drive away... Great Work by the City of Woonsocket! If any of us did this, we would be arrested.
Joe February 09, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Nice job by the public safety director/mayor and the ema director/fire chief . Its no wonder the city is a mess they all operate on the "what are the odds " philosophy. Don't bother with maintenance or having the proper equipment or manpower to get the job done. Who in their right mind is going to drop their paying customers parking lots to get an IOU from Woon.
michelle washington February 09, 2013 at 03:43 PM
I understand your frustration but my husband is a Woonsocket Fireman who has been out in his rescue all night trying to help those in need and with this weather is been no easy task . The next call could be for your family or loved one is that a risk you are willing to take ?
Russ February 09, 2013 at 03:56 PM
This whole city is a joke and as usuual there will probably be no accountability for this situation ! Maybe we'll all get another supplemental tax bill to finance repairs. It's no wonder so many people want to get out of here !
Russ February 09, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Couldn't agree more I'd think twice before opening a business here. Pretty sad statement.
Anne-Marie February 09, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Well I'm hoping to have my street plowed out by the end of the day since it hasn't been done since the damn storm started!!! I have had to call them twice one the past to plow our street we have infants & elderly on our street so hoping we have no damn emergencies!!! We had 1 truck with a plow & a 4 wheel drive blazer with a plow both get stuck @ the beginning of our street & had to be pulled out !!! So In case anyone cares that would be Newport Street!!!
North Smithfield resident & very happy February 09, 2013 at 04:28 PM
They owe people $$$ from the last storm...the way they treat their citizens with the TAX hikes...I do believe this is called KARMA.!!!!!
Russ February 09, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Couln't agree more. It's no wonder businesses are leaving.Sad state of affairs
Russ February 09, 2013 at 05:43 PM
I don't think the frustrations are with the fire or police depts. It's directed at the public works. To have equipment problems when they new well in advance is unacceptable. Shouldn't the trucks have been checked ahead of time? As far as private contracters, they probably don't want to wait for their money.
Nelson Aldrich February 09, 2013 at 07:48 PM
It's more important to pay creditors and 20 year retirees than to service city residents.You want debt,you got it Woonsocket.
Rick February 09, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Considering most of these trucks are probably the same ones that were used during the blizzard of 78 all this doesn't surprise me.
Memere February 09, 2013 at 08:46 PM
When will people realize that the problems this city is in are not due to the city workers who are doing their best under the circumstances, or to the taxpayers of Woonsocket who are also doing their best under the circumtances. The problems originate with the extremely poor management at city hall. Remember this at the next election folks!!!!!!
john February 09, 2013 at 09:13 PM
YES,THEY ARE. DON'T FORGET THAT THIS IN AN ELECTION YEAR. ALSO THERE IS NO MONEY IN THE BUDGET (5 year plan) to buy any new equipment. Fontaine and Ward get your shovels ready.
Ed Chandler February 09, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Not that I agree with whats going on in Woonsocket, but as a retired contractor, plowing takes a terrible toll on equipment. The truck frames, the plow hydraulics, the drive trains all get damaged, or weakened during plowing operations. Woonsocket's trucks could have been in great condition at the beginning of the storm, but perhaps the storm has won the battle and left several pieces of heavy equipment in shambles! PS, I live in Blackstone.
Steve February 09, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Its time to start firing everyone in the City of Woonsocket who no longer can perform their job! There are several departments in the city's budget that are no longer needed or are no longer performing to the expectations that are required at their positions. #1: The Economic Business Developer and any associated staff: FIRED! #2 The head of the DPW and it's 2.5 million dollar budget for not performing routine maintenance, FIRED! #3 All the superfalous police lieutenants, sub lieutenants, assistant lieutenants and 10 other assistance’s assistance’s positions and such, FIRED! #4 The “In House” legal advisor sucking off the tax dime, FIRED! Good god, what is it gonna take to wake people up here! Oh yeah, just wait, we’re gonna get the union consessions that we need to balance our budget? Really, REALLY?
john February 10, 2013 at 12:02 AM
DRS February 10, 2013 at 01:52 AM
My road hasn't been touched
Jessica February 10, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Upper Bennett Street (dead end) hasn't been touched by a plow. People at the end of the street have dug themselves out and created a bigger pile of snow in the street.. I'm expected at work for 8am Sunday.. doesn't look like it's happening. This is ridiculous.
jen long February 10, 2013 at 01:02 PM
How about Paradis Ave, Willow St, Wilson St, Bernon??? Im in Cranston but want to go home today. Any plows up there???
English first February 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Same people keep getting voted in. There will not be a change.
christine m February 10, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Plowed but still covered in snow and very slippery. I'm on wilson
Lorraine Corey February 10, 2013 at 05:24 PM
I've been receiving email responding to Memere's comments. Just want everyone to know that, because my email address is similar to "Memere", I am not the one posting comments under under "Memere". Sorry, can't take credit nor blame for her comments.


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