PIKE COUNTY, KY (WOWK) — Hard-hit communities in eastern Kentucky are picking up the pieces after the weekend’s heavy rains dropped inches of water across the region.
One community in Pike County is trying to bounce back after flooding they say is the worst they’ve seen in more than a decade.
The swollen waters of Big Creek, which runs along the edge of Sidney, caused big problems Saturday morning.
“Between the Belfry area and the Sidney area, we did 47 rescues that morning. I think the first water came out of its banks just after seven o’clock,” says Nee Jackson, deputy emergency management director for Pike County, and the Belfry Fire Chief.
Local pastor Zeke Stepp says his church, Sidney Missionary Baptist Church, was hosting a youth ‘lock-in’ the night before the flood.
“When the water started getting in the road, we was unaware, we was fixin’ breakfast for the kids, and was going to take them home about eight or nine o’clock,” Stepp says.
However, when the water level surged and hit the church, Stepp had to evacuate around 24 kids.
“We decided to evacuate the kids out the back, which was the most shallow part. And the Lord blessed us with a great neighbor, Joe. And we put the kids in his garage and he brought them blankets and shoes and stuff to drink and took care of us until we was confident we could come back to the church,” Stepp says.
Next door, the Big Creek Volunteer Fire Department was inundated by three feet of water, causing some trucks not to be able to get out.
Down the street, homes and businesses also suffered.
“Mud. That’s what you saw. It wasn’t nothing but mud all through here,” says Jack Thacker, whose home was flooded.
Evidence of the rapid rise of Big Creek can be seen still on Thacker’s fence where a visible water line remains several feet off the ground.
“What we’re doing now is getting everything out, so we can clean,” Thacker says, but as is evident by a growing pile in his backyard, Thacker says there is much that could not be salvaged.
The county declared this a disaster Saturday, according to Jackson, and there are still challenges facing residents as they try to clean up.
“It also affected the water department so there are a lot of areas that don’t have water, they don’t have city water so right now they’re kind of at a standstill… It makes it really tough to clean up,” Jackson says.
Emergency management officials are working to survey the damage, to evaluate whether they meet the financial threshold for government assistance.
Officials on the ground tell 13 News there were no injuries or fatalities in the rescues conducted.
They are urging anyone that has damage to call the emergency management office at (606) 432-0210 and report any and all damage.