Drying out

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By Stephen Lega

According to the county's initial damage report on the May 2 flooding, 502 W. Central Avenue in Bradfordsville received three feet of water and received major damage.


Hilda Perkins, 62, has lived in her house on W. Central Avenue for 45 years. She remembers it flooding before, in 1970, but this time was worse.

Almost everything Perkins owns was drying out in her front yard three days later. A mattress, clothing, dishes and multiple photo albums were among the countless items water-logged by the flooding.

"This time it's messed up everything," she said. "I ain't got nothing left."

Carolyn Smothers, Perkins' daughter, said many of the things her mother owned had been in the family for generations.

"That's got to be hard on somebody," she said.

Twenty-five local families evacuated their homes because of the flooding, according to the initial damage assessment report. Two residences were destroyed, 15 were deemed uninhabitable and 60 more were damaged. The Marion County EMS building was also damaged. At least 15 roads were blocked, and 15 bridges were damaged as a result of the 8-10 inches of torrential rain that fell on the county within a 36-hour period.

In Calvary, the water filled the first floor of a home at the corner of Hwy. 208 and Old Calvary Pike. The water reached 25 feet (and maybe more) at the Lebanon Water Works pump station. John L. Thomas, the Lebanon Water Works superintendent, said the flooding likely caused at least tens of thousands of dollars in damage at the station.

"When I saw the water going in the front door of the water plant [May 2], I thought there was a shot Lebanon and Marion County could be out of water for a week to 10 days," Thomas said.

Fortunately, the flooding did not get into the filters or damage the electronics that control the station. Had that happened, the county could have had bigger water problems than it did during last year's natural ice storm catastrophe.

"With the ice storm, we didn't have anything wrong," Thomas said. "We were just waiting for the power to be restored."

Thomas added that it might be a while before the pump is operating normally again, but the good news is that the water company is pumping water and sending it to town.

Water conservation efforts and a boil water advisory were implemented while the water company employees worked to clean up the plant with some help from the Lebanon Fire Department. School was canceled May 3, and some local factories canceled some shifts.

Local stores quickly sold out of water, but those stores also donated drinking water, which was distributed to local schools and throughout the communities with the help of the county's fire departments, according to Marion County Emergency Management Director Kenny Blair.

He added that Wal-Mart donated 20 pallets, Kroger donated 12,000 bottles and Fivestar contributed 120 gallons of water for distribution in the days after the flooding.

In the aftermath of the flooding, friends and families, neighbors and strangers came together to help however they could. Assistance also came in from out of town. A contingent of volunteers from the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief team also arrived in Bradfordsville. The disaster team also brought a trailer equipped with eight showers and a washer and dryer.

Tommy Story of Brandenburg, who is a volunteer with SBC Disaster Relief, monitored the shower trailer Wednesday and helped gut the interior of a few houses later in the week.

"It's a very rewarding job," he said.

Local churches prepared food for the people who were affected by the flood and the volunteers who assisted with the clean up.

"All of this is such a blessing," Bradfordsville Mayor David Edelen said.

Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly said, as with the ice storm, the people of Marion County came together to help one another.

"There was a whole lot of community and volunteer help out there," he said.

FEMA officials arrived in town Monday to begin doing assessments. They will be evaluating whether the county may qualify for individual assistance, small business assistance and public assistance.

Gov. Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency May 3. A total of 78 counties (including Marion) issued written emergency declarations and one county issued a verbal declaration.

For much of Marion County, life was returning to normal by the end of the week, but for the families who had their homes damaged, the work of cleaning up may be just beginning.

Greg Riley of Lebanon was helping clean up his step-daughter's trailer, which he said was moved about two feet by the water. Kim Smothers, who was also helping with the clean up, estimated the trailer had three to four inches of mud inside.

On Highview, Ryder Hague, his brother and friends were doing their own clean up. Hague said when the water rises, it usually gets to his brother's yard (across the driveway from Ryder's house). But this time, the water just kept climbing.

Hague said his friends had been helping him throughout the week.

"Bradfordsville really came together," he said.

And despite the flood damage to his own property, including a guitar and a drum set, Hague remained in good spirits Thursday.

"We'll have some good-looking yards," he said.

If you have flood damage

Individuals, families and business owners who experienced property damage as a result of the flooding need to take photos of the damage and save all repair receipts, according to the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.

All damage should be reported to local emergency management officials. In Marion County, the flooding damaged the emergency management office, so damage reports should be turned in to the County Judge's Office. The judge's office is on the second floor of the David R. Hourigan Government Building, 223 N. Spalding Avenue in Lebanon. The phone number is (270) 692-3451.

FEMA officials arrived in Marion County Monday to do assessments for possible individual assistance and small business assistance. Mattingly said public assistance assessment officials are expected to arrive later.

In the meantime, he encouraged people to be patient with the process, which will take some time.

If you have flood-damaged debris

The Marion County Solid Waste Transfer Station on Fairground Road and the CD&D Construction/Debris Landfill on Hwy. 208 are both accepting flood-damaged waste.

Residents with flood-damaged waste are asked to separate building materials and household contents. Building materials, such as wood, insulation, drywall, etc., should be taken to the CD&D landfill. Household contents should be taken to the transfer station.

Likewise, county road department employees were in Bradfordsville this week to collect debris for individuals who did not have the resources to haul their own flood-damaged debris. Mattingly added that the City of Lebanon allowed the county to borrow a backhoe to assist with the effort.

For more information, call the County Judge's Office at (270) 692-3451.