Flash flood wipes out only grocery store in Nicholas Co., several emergency vehicles

Posted at 8:56 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 21:01:56-04

NICHOLAS COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The deadly flash flood in Nicholas County tore through the community, causing millions of dollars in property damage to homes and businesses across the county.

The Nicholas County Fire Department also flooded with approximately four feet of water on July 30.

All seven of the department’s fire trucks had water in them as a result of the flood. Fire Chief Doug French said three fire trucks have major damage, one of which he believes will be a total loss.

“It’s not great, but we’ll make it,” French said. “We are a small community. We are a small county. We don’t have the tax base to just go out and buy. The trucks that are damaged, the one truck is a $700,000 truck.”

Nicholas County Emergency Medical Services also had several feet of water in their building.

“We’re still assessing the damage, but we’ve lost two of our four ambulances,” said EMS Director Tim Smith. “I hope that with the insurance we’ll be able to replace most everything that we lost.”

Smith said one more ambulance is at the mechanic, which he hopes they can get back up and running.

In the meantime, surrounding communities are lending Nicholas County fire trucks and ambulances to make sure emergency services don’t fall short.

“We’re not going to miss a beat. We’re fine. Our crews are doing well, morale is good, and everybody has stepped up,” Smith said.

“The people in the community should feel fine. They’re not going to get shorted on any services. Everything's going to get taken care of. If we have a run right now, we’ve got a plan and it’s going to work,” French said.

Several city vehicles, including a garbage truck, were also damaged in the flood.

“We have so many things going on right now and it really twists your head a bit,” said Mayor Ronnie Clark. “I mean, we’re sitting here today without a grocery store.”

A Save-A-Lot serves as the city of Carlisle’s only grocery store. The nearest grocery store is now 15 miles away in Cynthiana and Paris.

“If you want to buy a pound of hamburger, not here. A loaf of bread, yes, but again you’re down to two dollar stores and a couple of service stations,” Clark said.

Clark said the flood left the Save-A-Lot in shambles on the inside. It will have to be rebuilt, which could take several months.

In the aftermath of the flood, several organizations stepped up to offer free food to flood victims.

However, just like the borrowed fire trucks and ambulances, the meals are a temporary solution to a larger scale problem.

A multiagency recovery center will open Friday at 10 a.m. at the Nicholas County Elementary School to help homeowners and business owners with farm aid, insurance, consumer protection, housing, public health, economic development, and small business recovery, and environmental protection.