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Clean-up effort begins in downtown Beattyville

Posted at 5:25 PM, Mar 03, 2021

BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Twenty-four hours ago, the only way to get through downtown Beattyville was by boat.

By Wednesday morning, Main Street had mostly dried out. What is left is a muddy mess to clean up. The same shovels recently used for snow and ice are now helping to clear mud off sidewalks. Restaurants, auto repair shops, and law offices are all facing the same issues.

"The recovery for them is gonna be much longer and we're going to try to do everything we can to help," said Lee County Judge Executive Chuck Caudill.

That help started with just making sure that everyone escaped the flood safely as the water rose.

"We had to use Black Hawks, thank goodness for the National Guard to get some people out. The forest service and Animal Control came in with their boats. Volunteers came in with their boats," said Caudill.

Caudill says at least 25 homes across the county were destroyed, but it appears that no one has died.

Whether you took a boat down Main Street on Tuesday or walked along the muddy sidewalk today, the prevailing sentiment is that they're grateful everyone survived. That's the case even as owners throw away thousands of dollars of equipment, some of it priceless.

"For Lee County, for those who don't know, Bob Smith is a force of nature. He's kept thousands of photos recording the history of the county there, so getting those, we're not exactly sure how much of a loss that was but I would say that we lost a lot of our history," said Caudill.

Smith is the owner of the Three Forks Tradition, a local newspaper.

"It's a physical history of this county for the last 31 years," said Smith. Even though the staff couldn't reach their newsroom yesterday, by this morning, there was a paper out. It documents a day in Beattyville no one will soon forget.

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Caudill says there is a county fund set up to help people recover. If you’d like more information, you can contact the deputy judge executive at 606-560-0721.