Fayetteville residents cut off by Matthew worry about safety
Posted October 20, 2016
Fayetteville, N.C. — Hurricane Matthew has forced residents in a Fayetteville neighborhood to cross a dangerous earthen dam to leave the subdivision. But now, after more than a week, residents are concerned about how they would get help in an emergency.
Harriett Shooter makes the 300 yard trop across the Rayconda Parkway dam at least three times a day.
"It's just been a minor inconvenience. I don't mind the walk," she said.
About 250 residents have been forced to walk and drive across the damaged dam since Matthew. Floodwater from the storm washed out the dam at Simple Avenue, which served as the way in and out of the neighborhood.
Now, community members are forced to drive across the damaged dam one vehicle at a time, or walk.
Robert McRae said he makes the walk once a day.
"I go to the store and I buy a couple of things for my aunt, or just get a couple of things for me and I go back home," he said. "It's a pretty long walk, but it's OK with me."
The major concern among residents is what happens if there is an emergency that would require larger trucks to cross the dam.
"In the event that we should have a fire here in one of our residences, whether or not this road is able to sustain 20 tons going across it," said Freddy Rivera, the homeowner association president.
Fire Battalion Commander Michael Martin says that if someone in the community needs help, they will be there to provide assistance.
"There are a lot of theories out there and a lot of thoughts that since this dam is compromised that we won't be able to get to them," he said. "And here again I stress, if someone needs assistance, whether it be EMS, or police, or fire, we will be there."
The city is cutting a new entrance to the neighborhood on Raeford Road, and officials said the dam on Simple Avenue will be ready for emergency traffic by Friday. The earthen dam should be repaired by the end of next week.
"The sooner the better, but I want to be safe before we head that way," Shooter said.