LOGAN – The Deputy Director of the Logan County Office of Emergency Management said he’s giving his team an “A” when it come to the response on Madison Creek.
That community was cut off last week when a mudslide blocked the only road in and out of the area. The OEM jumped into action. However, Bill Weese said they already had a plan in place.
“The state [DOT] was anticipating there was a possibility of [a mudslide] happening, so we actually pre-planned it,” explained Weese. “Everything worked out real well.”
The deputy director said their first concern was making sure they had a way to bring those living on Madison Creek Road to safety, if need be.
“It made it difficult for us to access people, from the Ambulance Authority’s perspective, to access patients if anyone got injured or sick. We actually had to go in on ATVs or by boat to get those people out,” stressed Weese.
They had two emergencies. One man needed a dialysis treatment and a woman went into labor. Both were ferried across the Guyandotte River into a waiting ambulance on the other side.
Over the next several days, they ferried about 40 people across the water. Thirty other residents decided to stay put.
The Ambulance Authority used their boat to transport necessities like food and water to the closed-off community. Meanwhile, the DOH was working on reopening the road and, on Thursday afternoon, that happened.
Weese said it was a great feeling to see families reunited and back in their homes. But this might not be the end.
“[The DOH] is still working [on the hillside] to make sure that nothing comes back down, but there’s still that chance.”
Weese said, if it happens, they’ll be ready, with their ATVs and boats.
Meanwhile, the state is set to begin work on a causeway from Madison Creek across the Guyandotte in a few weeks. Residents will be able to use that while a permanent fix to the roadway is worked out. That could take a year, possibly more.