Mudslide causes evacuations

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Mud knocks a home off its foundation, and people in the area fear more damage could be done.

Last Friday's storms caused a mudslide in the East Point community of Johnson County, forcing one family to leave their home and putting others in danger.

Residents say the excess mud and water was caused by an abandoned strip mine on the mountain above them.

State officials say the mine in question was abandoned by the Johnson Floyd Coal Company in July 2010.

Jennifer Flannery says it will be difficult for her family to start over, but its even harder to leave the home she lived in for 19 years.

She says she could not imagine that Friday night's storms could cause this.

"No, no I couldn't. Never dreamed of anything like this happening," said Flannery.

Her father, who lives below her on the hill, saw water running down the hill rapidly, and knocked on her door frantically trying to get the family out of their home.

"Even though we lost our home, I feel really fortunate," said Flannery.

She says the impact from the mud has pushed her house about four feet up, and one foot to the right. She says it's still moving.

With the help of friends, the Flannerys were able to move some belonging out of their shaky home that is now too unsafe to even go inside.

The entire yard is covered in mud, and some has risen to the back windows of the house. She fears that another storm could knock her home down the hill, putting other homes in danger.

"It's very heart-breaking and it's been really hard on me. I'm just making the best of it, that's all I can do," said Flannery.

Flannery says the family cat, Fat Louie, is still living on the porch of the unstable house. She says he is scared of leaving the only home he has ever known.

Officials with the Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement have already looked at the slide and say they are closely monitoring the situation.

Flannery says her family has filed a claim with the insurance company on her house, but is waiting to hear what to do next.

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