County seeking aid after flooding

Published 10:34 pm Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Lawrence County Commission Friday approved an emergency declaration in the wake of flooding this week.

The declaration could allow Lawrence County to tap into federal emergency assistance, depending on how severe the damage is.

Both county and Ironton officials said Friday morning they are contending with high water and private and public property damage.

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In the city of Ironton, more than 100 houses have been affected by flooding.

As of Saturday, no figures were yet available for the rest of the county although there were reports of damage.

“We have a mobile home with a tree through it on Township Road 317 (Upper Township),” Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Boster told the commission.

County and city officials Friday contended with flooded streets, fallen trees and culverts and manholes clogged with debris. Heavy rains have caused one sinkhole at the corner of Fifth and Railroad streets in Ironton and another in Chesapeake.

“We’ve been out working day and night,” Mayor Rich Blankenship said. “We’re doing everything we can possibly do.” He estimated the city had gotten four and a half inches of rain within a 50-hour period.

Boster said a portion of County Road 32 in Union Township and County Road 53 in Lawrence Township have been adversely affected by flash flooding. There was diesel fuel spill in Windsor Township after a diesel tank apparently was washed into the flood.

Doug Cade, engineer with E.L. Robinson engineering, said a landslide on Ora Richey Road that has been problematic “for awhile now” was exacerbated by the recent heavy rains.

“We’ve been able to manage it up until now,” Cade said. “Now it’s getting worse.”

Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd said as far as he knew Friday morning, only one county-owned bridge was washed out by the flood, but said he and his staff have “not had a chance to look at everything.”