Chelyan flooding worries neighbors about elderly, disabled - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Chelyan flooding worries neighbors about elderly, disabled

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When her neighborhood floods, Jennifer Fowler becomes a prisoner in her own home.

"I'm in a motorized wheelchair and it's my only transportation," said Fowler, of Cheylan. "When it floods, I have no way of getting to the store or if there's an emergency, I can't get out."

She faced the problem again as heavy rains pounded Grady Street in Chelyan--a low-lying area prone to flooding.

Just minutes before, a crew from the West Virginia Division of Highways came to restart the pump down the street.

"We will have men here all night long checking this pump," said Frankie Armentrout, with WVDOH. "We always are on top of the situation here and pump the water down."

Armentrout said he and another worker had checked on the pump around 4 p.m., but just two hours later, it had briefly stopped working.

While he said the machine was not broken, he said the pump slows down when there's more water coming in than flowing out.

"We're doing everything we can do," Armentrout said. "Putting up signs and fighting drains."

But other neighbors said this is not the first time their street has overflowed.

"They come and pump the water out, but it don't do us any good because the next time it rains, it's same old, same old," said Vernon Hudnall. He said he's lived on Grady Street since 1949, and these problems have plagued the area for the past ten years.

"It makes me very mad and it disturbs me a lot," Hudnall said.

In the meantime, Jennifer Fowler is just stuck--at least until the rain stops and the water goes back down.

Both she and Hudnall said they fear for the safety of people living in a nearby apartment building, where many elderly and disabled people live. They said like Fowler, many cannot leave their homes when water rises.

A spokesperson for the WV Department of Transportation said crews will be working in the area all night to make sure water levels stay down.