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Staunton neighbors begin cleaning up from weekend flooding

Neighbors on Lewis Street cleaning up from the weekend flooding.
Neighbors on Lewis Street cleaning up from the weekend flooding.(NBC29)
Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 4:36 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Neighbors in Staunton are picking up the pieces after flooding tore through their community Saturday, August 8. Homes on Lewis Street endured severe damage and many are helping each other clean up the mess the high waters left behind.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jeff King said.

King says he was inside his Lewis St. home Saturday night when the flooding waters tumbled down his street.

“Seeing how fast it came up, seeing how fast it moved. This stuff is deadly, and it is real and it really is scary,” King said. “When you see dumpsters and cars floating down the road, it’s a real thing and it doesn’t take much.”

His home escaped most of the damage, but some of King’s neighbors were not so lucky.

“Two houses down, their foundation got completely flushed out,” King said. “It’s just mud, and walls all caved in.”

King says one of the scariest scenes that night was witnessing people trapped inside their car with no safe way out. With the help of a few neighbors, King tried to help them escape.

“They were standing on the car just waiting there for someone to help. We threw them a line to try and help,” King said.

Samuel Watts Jr. lives a few houses down from King. The flooding caused Watts’s basement to take in an immense amount of water in a short period of time.

“The water was up to the third step. You can see the water line and the car floating around in the street,” he said.

Unfortunately for Watts, his car also became part of the wreckage.

“They just hauled it to a salvage yard. It was full of debris and trash and all kinds of mud and dirt. I lost everything in it and the car,” Watts said.

With homes destroyed and valuables gone, neighbors say everyone’s been helping out and trying to lift each other up.

“That’s just what Staunton is all about. That’s sort of what you like about these towns, people chipping in when things get rough,” King said.

Kings also says his firsthand experience Saturday night changed the way he views floods: The next time he hears about an upcoming flood, he will certainly take heed of the warnings.

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