Brooke Officials Tallying Flood Damages, Looking at First Responders

Bob Fowler, Brooke County director of emergency management, said he and other officials have been tallying the cost of recent flood damages and response by first responders in hopes of securing federal funds for county departments and residents.

Fowler said he led representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on a tour of the county last week to show them areas affected by flooding from the Ohio River and area creeks and heavy runoff from hillsides.

He said he’s estimated at least $2 million in flood damages, not including $1.7 million in road damages estimated by officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways, who met with FEMA separately.

Fowler said funding to public entities and residents depends on whether a federal declaration of emergency is made and he hopes to have news of that in two or three weeks. He said if that occurs, federal funds may be available to public agencies, residents and businesses or both.

Susan Fodor, a resident of McKinleyville, asked about help for residents at Tuesday’s Brooke County Commission meeting. She said the basements, garages and yards of several residents of the community were flooded by Buffalo Creek.

Fowler encouraged her to take photos to document the damages.

The commissioners also heard from members of the Brooke County Pioneer Trail Association, who reported a 4-foot deep sinkhole along a 150-foot section of the trail beginning about a half-mile from the Ohio County border.

Trail association member Lenny DeWitt said the hole was filled with about 12 tons of gravel a few months ago but has continued to grow.

Fowler said he’s alerted the WVDOH about the hole because he’s concerned the adjacent state Route 2 will be affected.

He said the two areas are among many affected by flooding.

“The town of Bethany has about $75,000 in damages and that doesn’t include Bethany College’s property, including their ballfields,” Fowler said.

He said flooding also has led to erosion along state Route 67, Greens Run, Lindsay Avenue and other areas and a slip beneath Upper Walnut Street in Follansbee.