Local News

Cary volunteers escape West Virginia floods unharmed

Posted June 25, 2016 6:29 p.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2016 8:54 p.m. EDT

— A group of Cary volunteers were in one of the worst hit counties in West Virginia when flooding that killed at least two dozen people and destroyed more than 100 homes started this week.

First United Methodist Church of Cary often sends volunteers to help build and fix homes in several states. The church sent two teams- about 60 people- to Greenbrier County in West Virginia to accomplish that mission, but things quickly changed.

Church members who returned to the Triangle Saturday evening said they expected rain, but not the soaking they got. Thursday and Friday were the worst days, they said, as rain started coming down quickly and turned roads into rivers.

Volunteers said as conditions worsened, all they could do was stand by and helplessly watch as the flood practically washed the town away.

“The streams were rising at a rate that was unbelievable,” said volunteer Jim Fletcher. “What these people don’t have beforehand and what they don’t have now, you just don’t have an appreciation for the quality of life had before and now they have nothing.”

Church members said four of the 24 people killed were from a home not far from where volunteers were working.

"There's a mobile home right down the street from our church where we were staying at, and there was like four deaths because the water rose and drown them. It was terrifying," said volunteer Morgan Walker.

"We had one team that had to cross a very low home-made bridge to get to the home and...I pretty much knew right away that they were not going to get out," said volunteer Dennis Hilton.

Volunteers spent the past day and a half trying to secure their belongings and doing everything they could to help others and stay safe.

Nobody from the church was hurt.