KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Mud, debris and powerful flood waters ripped through homes and buildings in Winifred on Monday. First responders spent their day rescuing people trapped in their homes and responding to the crisis, and they’re now helping affected communities clean up the damage.
However, Winifred firefighters must now do some cleaning up of their own. The Chesapeake Volunteer Fire Department’s Winifrede Station has severe structure damage from where the flooding wiped out the ground from underneath it.
Firefighters, and the Winifrede community, are building back one day at a time.
“Personally, it’s devastating to see. It’s a lot of work. Our primary concern is the community members. We also have members that live up here and are affected by this as well,” Chief Jeremy Hamilton said.
The station is filled with thick mud and water. The infrastructure of the building took a big hit from the force, making it a total loss.
Hamilton said Winifrede Hollow residents will need to rely on a station that is farther away in Chesapeake until further notice.
“It’s a large hit. any time you lose public infrastructure, you affect what services you’re able to provide,” Hamilton said. “We’ll still respond out of our main station. They’ll still get the same services they’re used to receiving, but Winifrede will have a slower response time for the people who live here.”
The next steps for the station are not clear at this time, but Hamilton said helping community members is one of their priorities.
Terina Adkins has been a resident in Winifrede for 19 years. Her home was severely damaged during the flooding.
“There’s mud. There’s water. There’s actually mold growing on the legs of the table already, which I’m shocked by,” Adkins said. “The ceiling is cracked. The insulation is down.”
A tree fell onto her home, and she said her entire home shifted from the impact.
“Water was pouring out of the electrical fixtures, so that’s an electrical issue, so I don’t know. My daughter doesn’t’ want to come back here. She was scared to death,” Adkins said.
After losing her husband several months ago, she said losing several sentimental items from her home makes this even harder to process.
“It’s just a house, but it’s the memories that you make in the house. I guess the fact that my husband’s no longer here, that’s what makes it hard because if we do lose it, it’s just a house, but it’s like you’re losing part of him all over again,” Adkins said.
Building back and serving the community is what matters now to both residents and first responders.
“Bad things happen to good people, but when you live in a community like this when bad things do happen, what’s really intrigued me is just love and the outpouring of support,” Adkins said.
The cost to repair the station, and the cost to fix several homes in the area, have not been determined yet.