'Everything is gone': Homes, mementos destroyed in Cumberland County floods

Posted October 10, 2016
Updated October 11, 2016

— Floodwaters started receding in Cumberland County on Monday, but residents were left overwhelmed by the cleaning up and rebuilding they now face.

Hundreds of people had to be rescued Sunday from their homes and cars amid rising water in the Cape Fear River and its tributaries in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. The force of the water in Rockfish Creek flipped the refrigerator inside Brenda and Jim Momb's backyard in Hope Mills, for example, and deposited someone else's shed in their backyard.

The Mombs have lived in the Brookridge neighborhood for 11 years and said they have never seen water that high – it reached the roof line of many homes in the area. They don't have flood insurance because they don't live in a flood plain.

"We've got 30 years of stuff incorporated in this house, and it's all gone," Brenda Momb said.

The couple is now living in a camping trailer on the street corner.

"We're just still in shock. We're still trying to figure out what we're going to do," she said. "I mean, we lost, we lost everything. We lost it all."

Brenda Burnell, who also lives in the Brookridge neighborhood, said the water mangled her picket fence and destroyed mementos from her deceased parents.

"It's horrible. They're gone. All my childhood mementos, things from my parents, they're gone. They're ruined. That's going to be really hard," Burnell said.

"All that?" she said, referring to her house, which had 5 feet of water inside, "that's OK."

Elsewhere in Cumberland County Peggy Brewington-Jacobs faced a similar situation, as her house on Cameron Road was reduced to a soggy mess, ruining almost 30 years of family keepsakes, mementos and memories.

"You go in a room and there's nothing. You've got heavy furniture and it's all in pieces and it's on the other side of the room or it's in another room. I don't understand it," she said. "There's a few things that can be cleaned and saved, but just about everything is gone."

From Jacobs' front yard, the devastation from the flooding is neighborhood wide, with very few homes spared by the rising flood waters.

In Fayetteville, flood waters cut through Bingham Drive and inched its way into Elmer Capps' backyard, taking a few things with it.

"It took my boat out of the yard, it took a bench and a cart for my lawn mower and took it almost to the dam," Capps said. 'i didn't find the cart, but I found my boat in somebody's yard down there."

The Cape Fear River was below 55 feet Monday afternoon, after cresting at 58 feet. Still, that remains almost 20 feet above flood stage.

Many roads in Cumberland County remained impassible Monday, cutting off some neighborhoods.

City engineers are working to repair a culvert underneath Shawcroft Road leading into the King’s Grant subdivision in Fayetteville. Until then, Cottage Way will be temporarily extended to connect with Shawcroft Road, officials said.

Engineers also will extend Pinewood Terrace to Raeford Road to create an alternative access to the Rayconda subdivision, officials said. That will eventually be upgraded and become the permanent entrance to the neighborhood.

Elsewhere, normalcy was slowing returning to the area.

Fayetteville Regional Airport reopened Monday, and the bus system resumed operations. Fayetteville City Hall and Festival Park Plaza were scheduled to reopen by noon Tuesday, but county government buildings, including the courthouse, will remained closed through Wednesday.

Water customers remain under mandatory conservation and are advised to continue boiling water until Public Works Commission crews can repair all water mains damaged by flooding, restore water pressure in the system and test to ensure bacteria has been killed off, officials said.

Two of four Fayetteville residents reported missing after the hurricane's deluge on the city on Saturday have been found safe, authorities said.

Fayetteville police have filed missing person reports for Boris Abbey, 43, who was last seen in the area of Morganton Road and Westlake Apartments at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Christy Woods, 45, who was last seen in the 1900 block of Ireland Drive at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Police said Woods' disappearance might not be related to the storm.


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