Inspectors have cited coal companies near flooded area

State officials say inspectors have cited coal companies for alleged violations at mine sites near Harless Creek in Pike County.

Now more than 100 people who live in that area have filed a lawsuit against the two coal companies claiming they are responsible for last month's devastating flood.

126 people are suing Cambrian Coal and AEP Kentucky Coal, asking for compensation for everything they lost in the flood.

Janie Caudill lost her beauty shop business and several family members lost their homes in Harless Creek on July 17th.

“It was something I've never seen in my life and I never want to see again,” Janie Caudill said.

Her neighbor Harold Thacker got home video of the rushing water. At one point, the video shows Lester Sayers truck floating down the street. Sayers says he was holding onto his porch.

“It was scary. This was devastating, this was a river, it wasn't a creek, just muddy water capping,” Lester Sayers said

Sayers, Caudill, and more than 100 others who lived or worked on Harless Creek believe two coal companies contributed to the massive flooding.

They have filed a lawsuit against Cambrian Coal and AEP Kentucky Coal who were mining on the nearby mountains.

“Because they done some outlaw mining out there that didn't protect us,” Sayers said.

“We think this happened, basically they failed to reclaim directly above our clients. We think all of this led to the massive tidal wave that was unleashed upon my clients,” Ned Pillersdorf said.

State inspectors cited Cambrian Coal the week after the flood for having too much sediment in one pond and allegedly mining more acres than a runoff pond could handle, causing excessive runoff that damaged a home.

Cambrian Coal Officials listed in the lawsuit were unavailable to comment and we could not reach AEP Kentucky Coal officials.

Neither company has been served with the lawsuit yet.

The families are seeking compensation for what they lost.

They are asking for a jury trial.

State inspectors did fly over the mine sites and Harless Creek in a helicopter last week.

They shot video from the air and are currently reviewing it to see if any other citations will be issued.

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