EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSTrapped Families Forced To Decide Whether To Stay Or Leave
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Bob Aaron, Jeff Morris
Reported: Dec. 11, 2013 2:51 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 11, 2013 11:34 PM EST
Madison Creek , Logan County , West Virginia
In Logan County mudslides have been plaguing the Madison Creek area since Friday, a second mud slide on Monday trapped 110 people in their homes with no way out.
Emergency officials went into the Madison Creek area on ATV's Wednesday to meet with the people living there and give them two options: stay trapped until the road is fixed, which is expected to take three weeks, or leave on a boat Wednesday afternoon.
It was a difficult decision for many people, for many different reasons.
The boat ride out of the small community, now isolated by a massive mudslide, is just the start of new worries for the people of Madison Creek.
"It was scary with her because she was squirming and crying," Shania Topping said of her one year old daughter. Her family chose to leave on the rescue boat.
In total, 38 of the 110 people decided to pack up and take a boat to safety, their only opportunity to leave, barring an emergency, until a new emergency exit is built.
For Amanda Burress, it was a difficult decision.
“I waited until the last to make my mind up, but I did," Burress said. She said she couldn't afford to stay and miss work at Walmart.
But the decision meant leaving her three-year-old son behind with his grandmother who couldn't leave. His grandmother is his babysitter, while Burress was at work.
“I didn't want to leave,” she said. “I had no choice. He was crying when I left. The only income I have is Walmart, so I have to go.”
Burress and the others are being put up at local hotels, their new home for the next three weeks. The Department of Highways is working to engineer and build a causeway over the Guyandotte River, which will be the new entrance to the community.
That means those who decided to stay, isolated in their homes, and those who decided to leave will likely be spending Christmas away from their loved ones.
"I left all his gifts and stuff down there so he could open them," Burress said.
Many who chose to leave did so because they have to get to work. The state also plans to provide them with rental cars because all of their vehicles are trapped as well, but as of Wednesday night the residentssaid that still had not been worked out.
For those who stayed, food is being taken in on ATVs for them and if there's an emergency, a boat will be launched to rescue them. Many decided to stay because of theft concerns, off-duty police officers have been stationed in the isolated community.
As for the slide, the DOH is blaming the freeze and thaw from the weather, but construction on state Route 10 likely didn't help either.
Emergency crews transported 38 residents from Madison Creek in Logan County on Wednesday afternoon who had been trapped by an expected mudslide.
The residents were transported on the Guyandotte River. The remainder of the 105 residents who live in the community decided to stay in their homes. The residents were moved over concerns about an impending mudslide on Guyandotte Road, the only entrance and exit for the community.
Residents who decided to leave will be put up at two local motels in Man and Logan.
Meanwhile, plans call for building a causeway to the area to provide temporary access to the community, but that project will take about three weeks.
Officials had met with community residents earlier on Wednesday and had been advising them to leave the area because of concerns about emergency situations.
The area where mudslides have occurred is near a section of state Route 10 that is being widened to four lanes. Madison Creek is located between Man and Logan.
Officials plan to transport about 40 people from Madison Creek in Logan County Wednesday afternoon who have agreed to leave a small community that is trapped by an expected mudslide.
About 40 of the 105 people who live in the area have agreed to be removed from the area. Emergency officials were debating whether they want to bring them out with an amphibious vehicle or by boat. They were leaning toward not using a four-wheeler to bring the residents out because the ground is very muddy.
Guyandotte Road, the only emergency access point for the residents, is shut down due to the impending mudslide. The area where mudslides have occurred is near a section of state Route 10 that is being widened to four lanes. Madison Creek is located between Man and Logan.
Earlier on Wednesday, state officials met with Madison Creek residents to discuss their options for getting a hotel and money for food. Carrie Bly, a communications specialist with the state Department of Transportation, said the rights-of-way division is also looking into the option of buying the homes out.
Officials were planning to use a bus to transport the residents to a motel.
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