'God if you hear us, help us': Breathitt County family loses home to fire, then again to floods

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 18:10:59-04

JACKSON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Like so many residents of eastern Kentucky, Karen Daugherty didn’t have time to think when flooding became a fiasco on July 28.

“I started panicking,” said the Breathitt County mom. “I’ve never seen anything so fast in my life.”

Her husband tied a rope to their 12-year-old to keep from losing her in the flood. Meanwhile, Daugherty held her phone above her head, desperate for cell service so she could make two calls.

“One was to my mother; one was to my sister. "I was telling them, ‘Help, water’s coming up,’” said Daugherty. “We didn’t see a way out.”

Within minutes, the storm above their roof became a raging river just outside their door.

“At that moment when I stepped into the water, I didn’t know if we were gonna make it, I didn’t know if we could get across to safety, I didn’t know if I was gonna see my family again,” said Daugherty.

Daugherty, her husband, and kids eventually made it to safety. It took three days for her to hear from extended family members and confirm their survival. As turbulently as the floodwaters came, the days following were a whirlwind for the family of four.

After losing their home and vehicles, they moved into a church’s temporary shelter. The shelter closed 28 days later, sending them to a hotel for two nights, and eventually to a camper in Crockettsville.

With her teenagers back in school and flood relief waning, Daugherty told LEX 18 that rebuilding is the only thing left to do, and rebuilding has become something of a routine.

“We live in a tiny home because 19 months ago we lost everything we had to a house fire,” said Daugherty.


In less than two years, the family has lost two homes, one to fire and one to flooding. More than anything, they hope to secure permanent housing.

According to Daugherty, they’ve received minimal help from FEMA and $515 from the Red Cross. Without a home or vehicles, the road to recovery looks grim. Through a GoFundMe, Daugherty hopes to raise $5,000.

“$5,000 is a lot of money to me,” said Daugherty. “It will get us something, but ya know we will have to have a lot of help. We’re just gonna have to rebuild somehow.”

Back to square one after a year and a half of fire recovery, Daugherty says her faith will see the family through.

“God if you hear us, help us,” she said.