Horror of Flood Still Lingers
For the Fetty family of Hundred, the few yards between their Main Street home and the city’s volunteer fire department felt like miles on July 28.
That night, Trina Fetty and her teenage daughters Jordan and Madison waded through more than 5 feet of water to escape their home, grasping a rope provided by first responders. Jordan Fetty, 18, required lifesaving assistance from firefighers during the short swim after she was struck by a log in the water, knocking her off the rescue rope.
Now, more than six weeks later, the family is among many in the small Wetzel County community wondering whether their lives will ever return to normal.
“We took about seven dump truck loads full of mud out of the basement and it was about nine inches thick, which was so gross and exhausting,” Trina Fetty said. “We finally got to the drywall stage and I’m wondering if we’re ever going to see the end. I lost all my furniture and appliances, everything.”
The Fettys lost two cars during the flood and had to spend thousands of dollars to repair another. Their basement was completely flooded and their main floor sustained considerable damages.
The memory of that terrible night remains vivid in their minds.
“From the time we saw water (outside) the house to when we realized it was in the house, about 10 minutes passed. I’d say it raised three foot within 10 minutes and within an hour the water was at it highest,” Trina Fetty said. “The water started coming up, so we took the dogs, kids and the guns and started to evacuate the two girls and me to the fire department. There were snakes and critters everywhere in the water and the current was ridiculous.”
The family received cleaning help from Eight Days of Hope and some assistance from FEMA for their flood relief efforts in the home.
Out of the devastation has come something positive, however. Trina Fetty said for the Hundred community, the flood was an opportunity to turn tragedy into solidarity.
“Of course it’s been traumatic, but its been good. Our neighbors are just like you’d imagine in any small town. We all know each other and we help each other as much as we can,” she said. “It’s been unifying.”
Dan Elliott, a resident of Hundred for 23 years, experienced the flood in the home he shares with his former mother-in-law and a personal friend. Elliott said the water left only his television unscathed on his home’s main floor, due to a high entertainment stand.
While he awaits additional FEMA assistance, the home only has a working fridge and microwave for kitchen appliances. Elliott’s bed is currently a mat on his floor.
He said the event has been a challenge for the small community.
“Everyone was pretty much devastated, but we’re coming together at the same time,” Elliott said. “We’ve all been really good at sharing what we have.”
Elliott said the flood may have changed his future living plans and set his sights on higher locations, away from Hundred’s hills and valleys.
“As soon as the house is done, if it pans out, we will probably move to New Martinsville and plan on going to Fourth Street or above,” he said.
According to Hundred Councilman Chip Goff, also a volunteer firefighter who currently operates the Wetzel County Volunteer Resource Center at the former state police barracks in town, 217 Wetzel County residents have applied for FEMA assistance.
“We still have 34 families that are displaced from their homes. That is our biggest concern. It’s hard telling where they’re staying at,” Goff said. “We have several people staying in homes they shouldn’t be in, but we can’t make them leave.”
Goff said the center is very much in need of skilled laborers and volunteers, as well as donations of supplies such as drywall materials, tools, insulation and electrical items. Monetary donations will also be acceptedn.
“We would love to get help from skilled carpenters, drywall finishers, flooring professionals and electricians,” Goff said. “Right now we’re getting close to cold weather and we need skilled labor that can do a job well done quickly.”
West Virginia Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, began his volunteer work in Hundred immediately after the July flooding. He’s still at it, completing repairs on homes with fellow Morgantown-area volunteers.
Statler said the disaster may have faded from the public eye, but volunteers are still badly needed. He urged anyone willing to help in the Hundred area to sign up at the volunteer center.
“In the first few days of a disaster like this, people come out of the woodwork to help, but after that it starts dwindling off,” he said. “We’re getting here about 6 a.m. and leaving at 9 p.m. We’re just not getting enough volunteers.”
The volunteer center can be reached at 304-775-2575, while the Hundred town office can be reached at 304-775-5131.
Hundred High School, where a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center has been set up in the library, also is recovering from the flood. Although the school itself was spared major damage, its athletic facilities were hit hard.
The football field and baseball field were flooded just after cleaning and preparing the fields for this season. The school also put off installing bleachers and a new press box due to the unexpected damage.
According to Shane Highley, assistant superintendent of Wetzel County Schools, the gym floor at Long Drain School was ruined and had to be torn out. The school has replaced the floor and plans to be ready for the start of basketball season.
“We are making progress with renovations and are working with the Federal Emergency Medical Agency. The renovations are a work in progress.We are doing great and we’ve cleaned up most of the damage. “
Jessica Broverman contributed to this story.