Menifee County: Opossum Hollow Road residents pick up the pieces

bmusgrave@herald-leader.comMarch 3, 2012 

Rubble is all that is left of a home along Possum Hollow Road in Menifee County. Authorities confirmed that one person died and another was seriously injured at this scene. PHOTO by Ron Garrison, staff

RON GARRISON

FRENCHBURG — A camouflage hunting rifle was shattered in half, its scope and barrel possibly buried in rubble off Opossum Hollow Road.

A queen-size mattress was wrapped around a post, and white dominoes littered the ground as friends and relatives of the Bowman family tried to collect what was left of their home on Saturday.

One member of the family died and a second was at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in surgery after a violent storm Friday night hopscotched over ridge lines in the Possum Hollow area of Menifee County, killing at least two people and injuring 50, Menifee County officials said early Saturday.

On the ridge opposite the Bowmans', official-looking SUVs dotted what used to be the driveway of another home, which had been pushed over the ridge. The body of the woman who lived there had been found early Saturday morning, Menifee County fire chief Johnny Johnson said.

Opossum Hollow Road was hardest hit by the storm in Menifee. The area, east of Frenchburg, includes about 20 homes, Johnson said. It's not clear how many were destroyed.

The storm hit around 5 or 5:30 p.m. Friday, Johnson said. Crews worked most of Friday night cutting a path to get to people who were trapped.

On Saturday, Sharon and Jim Sorrell were shocked to find their home — parts of which date to before the Civil War — intact. The Sorrells, both truck drivers, were in West Virginia when the storm hit.

The wind knocked over two barns and peeled off a metal roof, but left the rest of the home alone. On the porch, a curio cabinet owned by Sharon Sorrell's great-grandmother and an antique chalkboard sat untouched. "We were really blessed," Sorrell said.

Behind the ridge of what was once the Bowman home, Velda Adams' family picked through the rubble of the Frenchburg Job Corps math teacher's home.

Adams and her daughter Stacy Griffin hunkered down in the home's basement bathroom during the storm. Afterward, the women managed to get out of the basement but could not get out of the house. Griffin stuck her hand out of a broken window to get cell phone service. She called her husband, a member of the Meniffee County Fire Department.

On Saturday morning, friends and family brought things to Adams as she sat in a black pickup truck, trying to figure out what to keep. They found Griffin's Christmas stocking, which her grandmother had made. They also found her kids' report cards.

Somehow, a bathroom and the utility room — including Griffin's washer and dryer — were untouched. Her clothes were strewn all over her yard.

"I feel better today," Adams said. "I've found a lot of things that you just can't replace."

Beth Musgrave: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @hlpublicsafety

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