Devastating floods in West Virginia has left at least 14 people dead since early Friday morning, officials said.
As of 4:00 pm today, West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin said that”14 individuals have been confirmed to have lost their lives in the storms,” adding that more than 100 homes were destroyed, according to his office. “Initial reports from local officials indicate at least six counties have seen extensive structural damage,” the governor’s office said.
Chris Stadelman, Tomblin’s communications director, says some areas are “probably looking at flooding that’s going to be the worst in 100 years,” reported The Associated Press.
Among those dead is a 4-year-old boy who slipped into a rushing creek. The boy was outside with his grandfather. When the boy fell, his grandfather jumped into the creek to save him, but the water was rushing too quickly. Neighbors who heard the family’s commotion also tried to help, but were unable to reach the boy.
— Spencer Daily (@Spencer_Daily) June 24, 2016
Similarly, per the account of Harry Croft, a pastor at Marwin Church of the Nazarene in Wheeling, W.V., 8-year-old Emannual Williams was walking with his mother and sister when one of the children slipped. The mother managed to grab a hold of her children, but lost her grip on the boy.
Emannual’s body was later found a half-mile from where the family lives.
In another example, Ronnie Scott told AP that his wife, Belinda Scott, fled to their attic to avoid the flood when their home caught on fire after an apparent natural gas leak. Scott says his wife is currently in the hospital with burns on 67 percent of her body.
Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in 44 of 54 counties. Rescue efforts are still a top priority, with 200 National Guard soldiers actively helping with water rescues and another 500 soldiers helping.
Meanwhile, “Electric companies are working to restore power,” and the “latest estimates show more than 58,000 are without power as of 4 p.m. Friday,” Tomblin’s office said.