Ohio Valley Residents in High Water After Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan flooded parts of the Ohio Valley in mid-September. Fire and Rescue crews remained busy saving many residents from the flooding the storm produced.

It was decided that it was not safe to attempt a rescue through the creek. Sergeants Rick Sted, Bruce Marshall and Joel Shriner attempted to use a SWAT van to rescue residents by driving as far as possible through the water. At one point, the swift water rocked the vehicle from side to side. The plan was terminated for safety reasons.

Another attempt was made to reach victims by walking through back yards on foot. Mudrick, Williams and Lieutenants Bill Hoit, Dan Riddle and Tony Hardy began to walk towards victims when the current seemed to increase. Mudrick and Hoit were almost swept away in the current. Mudrick was able to regain his footing while Hoit clung to a tree. A rope was thrown to Hoit and he was pulled into safety.

Rescue personnel returned to staging to formalize a plan in which to rescue victims. At 9:55 PM, personnel were advised that Turkey Foot Road was showing signs that a major mudslide was about to occur. If it was to occur, personnel would become trapped in Sun Valley with no way to escape if the water continued to rise. Rescue crews decided to evacuate Sun Valley and Cove Valley Estates and return to Oakland District VFD's station and establish a rescue plan.

It was decided to attempt evacuation by air using a National Guard Helicopter. City of Weirton OES director Mark Lowe summoned the assistance of the National Guard at 10:30 PM. Preparations for helicopter evacuation was under way when at approximately 11:15 PM the rain quit. Within a 30 minutes, the water in Cove Valley began to recede and by 12:30 AM, residents were out of danger. The helicopter was cancelled.

At 01:30 AM Engine 408 on loan from International Steel Group of Weirton and under the command of Lieutenant Bob Hinchee successfully rescued a man who had been trapped atop his vehicle for several hours in the Kings Creek Area. Fire and rescue teams continued to work throughout the night making sure that residents were safe and removing water from structures.

We would like to thank Dave Krensavage for the use of his Jet-Ski. While the department does have in its fleet a Jet-Ski water craft, personnel were stretched all across the city. We were not able at the time to respond our ski to any area of the city. This average every day citizen came to the aid of his neighbors. Without his help, the family of three that were rescued may have met their demise.

A large number of city residents assisted with the rescue and evacuation of many victims. We were lucky to have no fatalities in this disaster.

Many residents became displaced due to the wrath of Ivan. Together, we prevailed showing a true community spirit of strength, commitment and assistance to our neighbors in this time of need.

Many areas of the city experienced major flooding and destruction.

We will clean up, we will rebuild, we will prevail and we will prepare for the next time. Let's pray that the next time, Mother Nature will be more forgiving!