Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 5, 2014

Damage widespread across Panther community as state of emergency is declared in McDowell County

PANTHER — Click here to see slideshow:

A truck in the Tug River. A home washed off its foundation. And damaged bridges are on the long list of items to address after flood waters swept through the Tug Fork River area in Panther early Thursday morning.

No injuries have been reported so far, said McDowell County Sheriff Martin West. A deputy was taking 911 personnel through the area in a humvee to assess the damage. The McDowell County Commission had declared a state of emergency for the area only hours earlier.

Denver West, 75, who lives at the fork of the Tug River, looked at his flood-damaged home. It had been washed off its foundation. He said he left about 1 a.m. when a neighbor called to warn him that a flood was approaching.

“Well I’m here,” he said. Thick layers of sand and mud were all around his damaged home. Almost six inches of mud was inside his home.

Many other residents are cleaning up their yards or dealing with damaged bridges that link their properties to the roadway.

Mike Roberts, whose home is at Bull Creek Road, said the flooding was the worse he had seen in 25 years. The state Department of Highways has been working throughout the day to clear debris and mud from the roads affected by the flood.

The state of emergency was declared at 10:38 a.m. Thursday morning, according to Angie Robinette, deputy director of the McDowell County Office of Emergency Services.

Robinette said homes, roads and other property in the Panther, Bull Creek and Trap Fork communities have been damaged.

“Right now there are a few residences with major damage, and there are still residents they are unable to get to due to damaged roads” Robinette said.

Robinette said county officials are working with the state Department of Homeland Security to try to get resources in the community to help impacted families.

“There is damage to the roads,” Robinette said. “The Department of Highways is down there assessing that.”

Robinette said the communities were hit with heavy rainfall early Thursday morning. The county had been under a tornado watch earlier Wednesday evening.


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