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Flood Brings Devastation

By Staff | Aug 2, 2017

Photo Provided An ice cooler is lodged in a bridge far from where it belongs.

Folks in Wetzel County woke up Saturday morning to what many residents described as “devastation.” A round of flash fooding hit the county. Hundred, Pine Grove, Jacksonburg, Smithfield, and Pricetown were all hit by steady and heavy rains.

These rains came as residents in the town of Hundred were still in the process of cleaning up from flooding that occurred the previous weekend.

A flood warning lasted into the afternoon hours on Saturday, with the National Weather Service citing three inches of rain having already fallen in some areas.

Residents reported to the Wetzel Chronicle in the early morning hours of Saturday, regarding their affected communities. It was noted that the towns of Pricetown and Smithfield were flooded, with water in residents’ yards, basements, and garages. Dog kennels and dog houses were washed away as a result of flooding.

Resident John Tedrow said he had to run through a current of water to rescue his dogs.

Photo by Christina Myer" A sign of perseverance, compassion, and hope... these four ladies volunteer and make spaghetti for those affected by flooding. Pictured are Sharon Bartlett, Kathy Moore, Tamra Kuhn and Janet Koontz prepare spaghetti in the consumer sciences classroom at Hundred High School, to help feed those who need a meal.

Joy Kuhn said that Hundred was “under water again,” referencing last weekend’s flash flooding. Kuhn said residents were in the process of being evacuated at that time.

North Fork Road and Pine Grove were also flooded Saturday morning.

The devastation became more apparent as Saturday wore on.

Wileyville Volunteer Fire Department reported that its neighboring comrades at Hundred Volunteer Fire Department had “lost everything.” Bert Anderson of Hundred Volunteer Fire Department confirmed the news, stating that four trucks were lost due to flood waters. Popular photos taken by Mercedez Goff are circulating Facebook, showing flood waters rising around the department’s trucks. Another photo shows a volunteer fire fighter wandering through the flood waters, perhaps looking to salvage something, anything.

Councilman Chipper Goff asked Hundred residents to please use water sparingly. He said the town had lost “four good wells last night.” He said the town had 10,000 gallons of water in a tank, as 40,000 gallons were lost due to a broken line. Goff asked that residents boil water until further notice.

Photo by Mercedez Goff Hundred Volunteer Fire Department suffered devastating losses due to the flood.

Councilman Goff, along with the Wetzel County Office of Emergency Management, both stated that officials were working to establish a shelter at Hundred High School.

Likewise, the process of cleanup will be difficult for residents of Pine Grove as well. The town has been struggling with sewage and water system issues and was already under a boil and conserve order after a piece of equipment broke at the water plant last week.

Valley High School in Pine Grove also received flooding.

Governor Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency in several counties, including Wetzel, Saturday morning. As of press time, the National Guard had been present in Hundred and Pine Grove, collecting items, damaged by the flood, that residents had left curbside.

Also, as of press time, tetanus shots – via the county health department – had been provided at HHS on Monday and Pine Grove’s Byrd Center on Tuesday. The Burton Clinic, in Hundred, had also accepted walk-in appointments on Monday for tetanus shots.

Photo by Heather Hamm A bridge on North Fork is submerged and destroyed by raging floodwater.

Volunteers at Hundred High School had also been offering hot meals for those affected by the flooding, and cleaning supplies and water have been available at HHS and the Byrd Center in Pine Grove.

The Wetzel County Commission released the following statement on the devastating floods:

The county commission has been in contact with the 911/Office of Emergency Services office, and they are coordinating assistance to our residents affected by the flash flooding. We are grateful for the governor’s state of emergency declaration which will help address the damages suffered by the victims.”

The commission said, “Our efforts will be focused on how we can help our friends and neighbors who went through such a terrible experience.”

State Delegate Dave Pethtel noted the following: “This is the worst flooding I have personally witnessed, in Wetzel County, during my lifetime.”

Pethtel said he has spoken with the governor’s office, with the 911/Office of Emergency Services office, West Virginia Senator Charles Clements, and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s office, “as we work to coordinate assistance to our residents affected by the flash flooding.”

“We are working to get the proper agencies on the ground to help people recover from this terrible experience.”

The commission provided an update Monday morning. Commissioners met with Sharon Kesselring, Executive Director of the American Red Cross. This is some of the information that was garnered:

* An assessment of the area was completed and shelters were set up at Hundred High school and North Marion High school. HHS is currently housing a family of four.

* ARC is on the ground in all affected areas supplying food and supplies. ERV (emergency response vehicles) passed out supplies door to door in the Pine Grove area yesterday and may move to Hundred and Littleton next.

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* The organization has received word that there is help coming from other parts of the US and they will be doing individual assessments soon. This will help with finances and getting the residents in touch with other organizations that they may need assistance from. Kesselring will try to update the commission every three days.

* Mark West has supplied a truckload of water to Pine Grove and Dominion has sent a ton of cleaning supplies to the shelter. The ERVS passed out those supplies, door to door, on Monday

* If anyone is interested in volunteering to assist the ARC, they can start the process by going to Redcrosswv.org.

And Wetzel Countians have not been remiss in reaching out to help those affected by the rising waters. Several drop-off points were established for donations. The Magnolia FFA, Paden City Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary, and New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department, all collected supplies and water in the 48 hours following the flooding.

Wetzel County Schools and the Wetzel County Education Association are working together to collect supplies for those affected by the flooding in our county. Supplies were being accepted, beginning Monday, July 3 at New Martinsville School, Paden City Elementary, and Short Line School. Items needed include water, brooms, mops, shovels, squeegees, gloves, and cleaning supplies. Donated items were set to be delivered on Tuesday and Friday.

The Wetzel County Museum will be collecting supplies for flood relief. Some of the supplies needed are buckets, mops, bleach, gloves, fans, non-perishable food items, hand can openers, bottled water, trash bags, Lysol, scrub brushes, sponges, tarps, general cleaning supplies such as paper towels and cloths. The museum has normal hours Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those who wish to donate at a different time can call the museum.

New Martinsville businesses Paw Spa and Anytime Fitness are also collecting donations. Anytime Fitness members can drop-off supplies at anytime. Non-members can drop off supplies at staffed hours, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tyler County residents are also reaching out to help their neighbors. Holler Sisters Crafts and Chelsi Parr (Parr’s Crafts) will be collecting items during the fair this coming week. Items can be brought to the craft barn starting Monday, July 31. Supplies listed are bleach, water, mops, brooms, paper towels, cleaning supplies, pet food. It is asked that you do not bring clothing.

Brooke Lemasters, of Bombshell Hair Studio in Sistersville, said she is collecting donations for her hometown of Hundred. Lemasters aid she is hosting a drive for cleaning supplies. She said she will deliver supplies as donations add up. “Anyone who donates will be entered to win a free cut! Our community, here in the Ohio Valley, is such a loving and giving one. Let’s help our neighbors!” Lemasters recommended bleach, cleaners, gloves, mops, drinking water, granola bars, or easy and filling snacks for people to grab.”

The Gabriel Project, Wetzel County Site, was at Hundred High School on Monday and was expected at Valley High School on Tuesday. The Gabriel Project is accepting donations for flood relief. Bayer Heritage Federal Credit Union at the Proctor and New Martinsville branches have offered to be a drop-off location for flood relief. The following items are being collected to handout: diapers of all sizes, wipes, baby food, cereal, formula, baby wash, baby lotion, powder, and diaper cream.

Hannah Evans, who teaches in the Town of Hundred, started a Go Fund Me account at www.gofundme.com/help-hundred-recover-from-flooding

Additionally, Suncrest United Methodist Church in Morgantown has an Amazon wishlist of cleaning supplies, to be delivered to HHS. The church can be accessed at “Suncrest United Methodist Church” on Facebook.

With the constantly changing situation, seek regular updates on the flooding aftermath and recovery by keeping in touch with the Wetzel Chronicle via its website at www.wetzelchronicle.com and its Facebook page “Wetzel Chronicle”

Please also make the Wetzel Chronicle aware of any additional donation drop-offs or volunteer efforts by messaging us on our Facebook page or e-mailing us at editor@wetzelchronicle.com