BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Just ten weeks ago most of these people wouldn’t have had time for a celebration. They were busy saving a small town.
“It’s been a lot faster than I thought,” said Lee County EMS Director, Jon Allen. “They’re tough and they don’t like to be told they can’t do something,” he said of this town’s residents and business owners.
In early March, much of the downtown Beattyville area was drowning in historic flooding. The Kentucky river swelled following a night of intense rain. It made Main Street accessible by boat only. Incredibly, no one died or was seriously injured during that episode.
“The potential for catastrophe was there; down power lines, propane tanks floating down the street,” said Judge-Executive Chuck Caudill. “But everyone kept their head and our volunteers and the Lee County staff stepped up."
To thank the first responders, the Signature Healthcare and Rehabilitation facility held a luncheon. Signature’s facility was right in the river’s crosshairs, but the building was spared. Water filled the basement, several feet-worth, but no one had to be evacuated, though first responders were ready for that if necessary.
“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Allen said of the business district downtown.
Some businesses have already returned and others moved to higher ground in the county. Some will be lost forever. Regardless, there was reason to celebrate ten weeks after this area was a federal disaster zone.
“We’re coming along,” Allen said.