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‘Like Niagara Falls’

Maxwell Acres residents cleaning up after flood

July 3, 2013
From Staff Reports , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Piles of debris and damaged household items littered the streets of Maxwell Acres on Tuesday afternoon as residents cleaned up in the wake of a flood.

Although most of the water had receded from the area, residents were left with water-damaged furniture, carpet and other items.

The Maxwell Acres section of Moundsville was bustling with increased traffic driving through the narrow streets and trucks from J&R Excavating and Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration working to clean up debris.

Article Photos

Photo by Sarah Harmon
A dump truck from J & R Excavating Inc. collects debris and damaged items in the Maxwell Acres area Tuesday afternoon in Moundsville.

"It was like Niagara Falls cascading down," resident Chuck McConnell said of the water that flowed into his garage. "It was a like a deluge coming down. We're just cleaning up now."

Mike Rogers of Glenwood Avenue said his garage filled with about 4 feet of water during the night, which ruined his new furnace and damaged stored furniture.

"A buddy of mine knocked on our door around midnight, and I could see our four-wheelers floating in the water," Rogers said. "I just sat there and watched the water rise. The neighborhood has been great. Everybody has helped each other. A couple of churches have come by to drop off cleaning supplies."

Shera Rogers said her family has lived in the neighborhood for more than a year without experiencing flooding, but they now are preparing for more rain by building a wooden barrier to the garage and installing some pumps.

Moundsville Fire Chief Noel Clarke advised residents to "keep vigilant" in preparing for more storms by watching out for neighbors, especially the elderly or sick.

"Everyone needs to look out for each other and understand we have limited manpower," Clarke said.

And the flooding rain that struck parts of Marshall County late Monday and early Tuesday complicated matters for fire crews responding to a fully involved blaze in Maxwell Acres.

The fire-damaged house was deemed a complete loss after flames ripped through it early Tuesday. 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. Moundsville Fire Chief Noel Clarke said the response was somewhat delayed due to flooded roads in the area. Officials said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Clarke said firefighters, police and other city workers were out in force starting at 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 Fourth and 12th Street areas, with mud and branches making it difficult to get around. Clarke noted the walking trail at Valley Fork Park is closed.

During a meeting of the county commission Tuesday, Emergency Management Deputy Director Mike Mucheck said while the National Weather Service reported the area received 1.5 inches of rain, he believed it was actually much more.

Around the same time as the Maxwell Acres fire, 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 initially were unable to extract the female from the trailer. Mucheck said additional units from Ohio County were called in and were able to remove her safely. On Tuesday morning, the woman had returned to her trailer.

The commission approved emergency action to provide funds to help cleanup efforts in the county. In addition, Mucheck said cleanup kits and Dumpsters were on their way to the county from the House of the Carpenter in Wheeling.

Staff Writers Sarah Harmon, Shelley Hanson, Ian Hicks and J.W. Johnson Jr. contributed to this report.

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