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The clean-up continues, but long rebuild lies ahead in Lee County

Posted at 5:28 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 18:17:54-05

BEATTYVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — One week ago, shops on Main Street in Beattyville closed up for the day as everyone went home.

Nobody imagined what the next 24 hours would bring as historic levels of flooding destroyed most of downtown. The first round of damage assessment is wrapping up in Lee County.

"Our count right now is 81 businesses and 64 homes," said Emergency Management Director Jon Allen.

The homes are scattered throughout the county, but most of those businesses are in downtown Beattyville.

"To see Main Street in the condition that it is now, versus how it was prior to the flood is almost heartbreaking," said Allen.

Misty Mayfield could barely hold back tears when she described the state of her sister's business, Xtreme Hair Design.

"It was really hard the first day. Just seeing all her belongings and everything she worked for out in the driveway," said Mayfield.

Across the street from the hair salon, Mayor Scott Jackson showed us the state of City Hall.

The building is closed, but the offices have been moved to another location as they continue to work for the people of Beattyville.

A few miles from downtown, we visited the damaged home of Tim Brandenburg. We shared his story we shared last week when fellow National Guard members were stepping in to help.

Thanks to a retired firefighter in Paris who donated a trailer, the Brandenburgs now have somewhere to sleep.

"We just want to make sure that even though we're a few counties away from Beattyville that they're still our neighbors and it is our job to help our neighbors," said Jeff McFarland, who donated the trailer.

Help has poured in from across the country and county officials are coordinating the response to reach everyone who needs assistance.

"The short-term meet is being met, however these folks are going to have to rebuild. So drywall, plywood, 2 x 4's, insulation," said Allen.

Allen says the kindness of Kentucky has been overwhelming because rebuild will take months.

"And a lot of these businesses, to be honest, I don't know if they're going to come back. I don't know they can financially afford to come back. So that's why it's so imperative that we get them the help they need to be able to be lively on Main Street again," said Allen.

He confirmed that FEMA officials will be in Lee County on Wednesday to assess the damage. He believes that the destruction meets the threshold for federal assistance.

If you live in Lee County and are looking for assistance, you can call 606-464-8419 or 606-464-4100.