Kentucky

Help arriving in Pike County

Stephanie Bentley of the Pike County Health Department gave Steve Thacker a tetanus shot Tuesday in Marrowbone. Thacker said his truck was destroyed on Harless Creek, where his parents live. Damage assessments and clean-up from Saturday's flash flood continued Tuesday.
Stephanie Bentley of the Pike County Health Department gave Steve Thacker a tetanus shot Tuesday in Marrowbone. Thacker said his truck was destroyed on Harless Creek, where his parents live. Damage assessments and clean-up from Saturday's flash flood continued Tuesday.

MARROWBONE — At the mouth of Harless Creek on U.S. 460 on Tuesday, a church collected donated clothing, bottles of bleach, toiletries and anything else compassion inspired.

The Pike County Health Department gave tetanus shots to all comers.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army set up trucks to distribute food and water.

Up the hollow there was movement, finally, after flash floods Saturday night killed two people and damaged hundreds of homes across central Pike County.

In places, Harless Creek seemed to have switched places with the road, which was impassable by anything but an ATV until Tuesday, some residents said.

State mine reclamation inspectors visited mine sediment holding ponds to determine whether any had breached or overtopped during weekend floods.

Joint local, state and federal disaster assessment teams worked across the county to determine whether damages meet thresholds for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid. Kentucky Emergency Management director Buddy Rogers said preliminary numbers might be available Wednesday.

"It's the worst flash flood damage that we've ever seen," Rogers said Tuesday after visiting Harless Creek in Marrowbone.

All state roads were clear and passable by Sunday night, Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sara George said. Crews cleaned up several slides on Ky. 194 and several on U.S. 460. Workers from several counties and districts were working Monday and Tuesday on cleaning out drains and culverts. Trouble spots included Ky. 194 between Meta, Hurricane and Kimper, and Ky. 3418 (Upper Raccoon Road).

Officials said 2,800 Mountain Water District customers were still without service, and the entire 17,000-customer system remained under a boil-water advisory because of low pressure and broken pipes.

Riverside Apostolic Church collected donations and hugs at its nearly completed building in Marrowbone. The building was being used sooner than expected.

Stephanie Casey lives on Ferrells Creek in Hellier, where church members were trapped during their Saturday night service. They watched as their cars slid downhill in the flooded parking lot.

"We were just like little mice running door to door, praying," she said.

Belinda Justice, who lives on Road Creek Road, said the stress was getting worse. She drove with her children to the grocery store to pick up bottled water and bleach at Marrowbone. Tears pricked her eyes as she described being separated from her husband and one daughter during the flood and keeping track of neighbors she was trying to help.

"You feel helpless," she said.

Friends and family along Harless Creek called out to one another across bridgeless ditches and rubble-strewn yards Tuesday. Randy Morton and his brother volunteered their ATV for the bone-jarring trip up and down the road to haul water, ice, lunch and anything else to neighbors — pointing out home after home that lost as little as a garage and as much as the foundation.

Iris Thacker's two-story home was still standing, but a neighbor's trailer was carried down the creek.

"It was like that trailer exploded" against the hillside, Thacker said. That's when she left and ran uphill. She and two family members "squatted behind a tree until about 11 p.m." because they feared their home would be carried away.

On Tuesday, Thacker accepted a cooler of ice and food from Morton, and family members were coming and going.

"People are helping each other," Morton said. "If you're not working, you've got no cause to be here."

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