North Carolina Department of Correction news release


Prisoners clean up tires washed ashore by Hurricane Bonnie

David Osborne,
NC Division of Prisons

31 seconds

MOREHEAD CITY – Long before the first sunbathers hit the beach this morning, 100 inmates were hard at work gathering tires that Hurricane Bonnie scattered across the sands of Bogue Sound from Fort Macon to Emerald Isle.

At the direction of Gov. Jim Hunt, the Department of Correction moved 100 inmates to the coast to clean up the thousands of tires washed ashore from artificial reefs during the hurricane. From Pine Knoll Shores to Emerald Isle, four crews of inmates spent the morning digging tires out of the sand and loading them on trucks provided by the National Guard. By noon, a small pile of tires dropped off in the Holiday Inn parking lot had grown into a mountain.

"The inmates have been fantastic this morning," said Preston Pate, director of the NC Division of Marine Fisheries. "This is probably one-third of the tires that were out there."

Pate said the remaining two-thirds can be cleaned up tomorrow morning.

The inmates began work on the tire removal project around 6 a.m. and worked non-stop until noon when high tide forced them to stop. Of the 100 prisoners working on the tire clean-up project, 80 were from the Dan River Prison Work Farm in Yanceyville and 20 were from the Carteret Correctional Center at Newport.

The inmates were divided into four groups and put to work at four different areas of the beach.

"They made a lot of progress," said David Osborne, a NC Division of Prisons manager. "It’s tough work. The longer the tires sit there, the more they’ve gotten buried. It’s a hard job digging them up."

"This really means a lot to the town with Labor Day coming up. It’s our last big weekend of the summer tourist season," said Pete Allen, Emerald Isle town manager.

More than 1,000 state prisoners are working across coastal and eastern North Carolina today to clean up debris for communities and help tobacco farmers.


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