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Construction workers act as first responders

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)--"It would've been worse. A lot worse," said Bradley county EMS paramedic and Public Information Officer Stan Clark of the death toll the night of the April 27th tornadoes.

Clark and his staff couldn't get through many neighborhoods that night because trees downed by the tornadoes blocked too many roads.

"Literally every time we tried to go down a road or try to get somewhere, we were prevented from doing so," explained Clark.

His twenty ambulances needed help reaching residents in critical condition. They were buried under piles of rubble, likely remnants of their own homes.

With the county's resources tapped, EMS placed a call to some men with machines which could help clear the way.

"They're just another one of the heroes on our list," exclaimed Clark.

He is referring to Wright Brothers Construction based in Charleston, TN, in northern Bradley county.

Dozens of its employees assumed the roles of additional first responders that night, using excavators and other heavy equipment to clear paths to the wounded. However, it wasn't easy to do in the dark.

"You didn't know where the street is, what street you're on. There's no street signs left," said Bart Saucier, Project manager with Wright Brothers.

Over a consecutive 36 hour period they removed tons of debris from 10 miles of roads around the county. It was an effort Clark was sure saved lives.

"I honestly believe that people would've died in those areas even more so than the nine deaths that we had," said Clark.

However, Saucier and his crews didn't expect more praise or thanks than other organizations which helped. They simply said it was the right thing to do.

"This is our home county here. So we felt like we should help all that we could," explained Saucier.

Seventy-two hours after the storms, FEMA began accepting bids from companies to do the rest of the cleanup. Wright Brothers placed a bid but lost the contract to another company.

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