Rain Hits Hard

MOUNDSVILLE – Areas of Marshall County were hit with flooding rain late Monday and early today, sending water rushing into streets and homes. In addition, a house in Maxwell Acres was gutted by flames at the height of the severe weather.

Moundsville Fire Chief Noel Clarke said much of the water receded this morning, although several major roads saw flooding overnight.

The house in the Maxwell Acres section of Moundsville was deemed a complete loss after fire ripped through it earlier this morning. The home at 2911 Glenwood Ave. was unoccupied, though authorities said a pet may have died as a result of the blaze. The fire was believed to have started in the basement of the home.

Crews from Moundsville, Glen Dale and Limestone responded to the fire. Clarke said the response was somewhat delayed due to flooded roads in the area. Officials said this morning the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Clarke said firefighters, police and other city workers have been out in force since midnight Monday, pumping water from residents’ basements, directing traffic around problem areas and beginning the cleanup process.

The worst of the mess in the city is in the 12th Street area, with mud and branches making it difficult to get around. Clarke noted the walking trail at Valley Fork Park is closed, as well as the Evan G. Roberts Recreational Complex – which is preparing to host baseball players from around the region in just a couple days.

“Debris is a concern, because we’re supposed to have the Beast of the East tournament this weekend,” he said, referring to the Edgar Martin Beast of the East Classic, slated Thursday through Sunday at ballfields around the Ohio Valley.

Clarke was not aware of any major roads in the city that remained closed at press time, but he said many roads remain “in bad shape.”

He stressed people should travel with caution and be aware of city workers who are cleaning up.

“We don’t need sightseers. We don’t need traffic congestion. … It just makes our job a lot harder to have to work around sightseers,” he said.

During a meeting of the Marshall County Commission this morning, Marshall County Emergency Management Deputy Director Mike Mucheck said crews had been out since 11:30 Monday night, particularly in the Fourth Street and Maxwell Acres areas. He said while the National Weather Service said the area received 1.5 inches of rain, he believed it was actually much more.

”The water was cascading,” he said. ”It wasn’t from the creek, but the buildup from rain water and the lack of drainage.”

Around the same time, crews were dispatched to 12th Street to a trailer court, where a female living in the area while working in the gas and oil industry had requested crews to help remove her from her trailer. Water had started rising quickly, and crews were initially unable to safely extract the female from the trailer. Mucheck said additional units from Ohio County were called in and were able to remove her safely. As of this morning, the woman had returned to her trailer.

Although the situation had calmed down by this morning, Clarke is worried about the potential for more severe weather, with scattered thunderstorms and rain in the forecast for the next several days.

“The ground’s pretty soaked. It’s not going to take much more water,” he said.

To help with cleanup efforts, the commission approved an emergency action to help cleanup efforts in the county with funds from the county’s emergency line. Additionally, Mucheck said cleanup kits and Dumpsters are on their way to the county from the House of the Carpenter in Wheeling.

At mid-morning, Marshall County Sheriff Kevin Cecil said workers from the Salvation Army in Morgantown and the Red Cross were on scene assisting affected residents. He added the county is enlisting private contractors to bring heavy equipment to clear debris and collect ruined furniture.

“It’s going to take quite some time,” Cecil said of the cleanup process.

Tom Hart, Marshall County Emergency Management Agency director, said no one was injured during the flooding but a few people were rescued by the Wheeling Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team in the Maxwell Acres neighborhood and on Eastern Fourth Street.

Hart noted the flooding started about 11 p.m. Monday, but the water began receding early this morning and now residents are in cleanup mode. Several unnamed tributaries that feed into Little Grave Creek spilled over their banks.

Middle Grave Creek also flooded.

“We’re also trying to get better estimates from the National Weather Service on the projected rainfall that fell,” Hart said. “They were saying 1.5 inches in an hour. We’re waiting to see if they’ve increased those totals.”

With the local weather forecasts calling for more rain, Hart said residents need to pay attention to their creeks and streams and listen to their NOAA weather radios for potential hazardous weather.

J.W. Johnson, Ian Hicks and Shelley Hanson contributed to this story.