One month later, flood recovery efforts ongoing in Cameron

CAMERON, W.Va. — Wednesday marked one month to the date that five inches of rain fell in the Marshall County town of Cameron in a short period of time, resulting in flash flooding and leaving the city with plenty to clean up.

That clean up continues to this day. All of the streams and creeks that run near and through Cameron exceeded their banks on June 21, and combined with hillside runoff, the city and part of its houses, schools and businesses were underwater.

Cameron Mayor Greg Galentine told MetroNews on Wednesday that it’s been a ‘huge process’ but the city has come a long way. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency shortly after the events due to the damage.

Cameron Mayor Greg Galentine
Photo/City of Cameron

“We still have a long way to go. We take it day by day and with the help that we have, we are able to make progress,” Galentine said.

Galentine updated the process and what residents and the city itself still need.

Seven homes have had walls and floors torn up and ripped out, waiting on a rebuild. Galentine said over two dozen were heavily damaged, some may be declared a complete loss. Galentine said most homeowners did not have flood insurance.

“The big thing we are running against now is getting rebuild crews to come in and start the process of rebuilding these homes for these people and try to get back to some type of normalcy for their life,” the mayor said.

According to Galentine, Cameron will not be able to meet the federal requirement in damage costs to get a declaration declared for FEMA help. It’s despite the $1.5 million in damage done to Cameron Elementary School.

Galentine said it remains up in the air if Cameron Elementary School will be open for students for the fall but the decision will come down to Marshall County Schools.

“They’ve removed all the flooring, all the desks, they’ve got dryers in there. They are cleaning,” Galentine said of the school.

The city itself remains with glaring needs in services. Galentine said a year-old dump truck was destroyed in the flood along with a pick-up truck used by the streets and alley department. He said the city has begun to use an old Commercial Dump Truck that was ready to be sold.

After reaching out to Delegate Charlie Reynolds (R-Marshall) for help from the state, Galentine said the DOH donated a 2014 Dodge truck to the city on Wednesday. Workers for the city had been forced to use personal vehicles during the recovery efforts. Galentine said it took the insurance company nearly four weeks to get an adjuster to Cameron to look at the damaged vehicles.

The city also lost all of its lawnmowers, weed eaters, concrete saws, and other hand tools worth $30,000. The underground water and sewer system cameras were also lost.

MetroNews previously reported on the issues with Cameron’s main sewer line. Galentine said the 12-inch line was clogged and the process to unclog left the city with a hefty price tag. Galentine said two major plugs have been put out as the work went from the end of the collection system to the treatment facility.

The city’s water system was spared any major damage from the flood and is operating.

Galentine said Cameron residents are familiar with flash flooding to the mainstream that runs in the middle of the town, including Upper Grave Creek, but some of it could be prevented. He said he would like to see federal agencies come in and see what can be done to get issues with debris in the water systems remediated. Gallentine suggested it could alleviate smaller floods.

Cameron is still taking donations of any kind. Call the city office at 304-686-2366 if you would like to donate.

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