CHATTAROY, W.Va. — A sudden flash flood Monday in Mingo County caused considerable infrastructure damage, but fortunately only a handful of residents in various communities saw severe damage to the living space of their homes.
Residents in Chattaroy, Delbarton, and Ragland spent much of Tuesday cleaning out driveways, crawls paces, or carports. Some private bridges were heavily damaged when the sudden storm put down intense rain on saturated ground. The storm sent runway into already swollen streams and they overflowed their banks.
“We needed to respond, people were trapped in their houses and none of us could get any of our equipment out of our station,” said Brandi Thacker with the Chattaroy Volunteer Fire Department.
Other departments in the county came to their aid and provided assistance. Thacker said fortunately the only true water rescue they ended up doing was for a woman who was 38 weeks pregnant.
“We ended up not being able to get the boat all the way to her house and had to walk her part of the way out,” she said.
Although very few homes were destroyed, there was enough water to cause problems and create a mess. Power was out throughout the county as a result of the flash flood. It also caused a number of water line breaks and disruptions which left many without water.
“We’re giving out drinking water and cleaning supplies trying to help out the local people here,” said Rob Hunt, Chief of the Delbarton VFD.
Both Hunt and Thacker agreed the storm came suddenly.
“It came. It was fast, surrounded everything and took out the roads,” said Thacker.
“The creek was in the road from Cow Creek to the Delbarton Area,” said Hunt.
The West Virginia Division of Highways was in Mingo County trying to rebuild roadways destroyed in the quick rushing water. There are also repairs underway to gas lines and water lines. A water buffalo providing drinking water for residents is set up at the fire hall in Delbarton until service is restored.
“Best I can figure, we haven’t had any calls on major problems. It’s just everybody has to clean up,” Hunt said.