LOUISVILLE, Ky. Kentucky firefighter Eddie Stacey turned his fire in the dark as he responded to the damage of the storm when he noticed a tiny light coming from the flooded Red River.
It was a cell phone that a woman was removing from a car flooded with water that was rising in a minute.
Stacey and other members of the Hazel Green Fire Department took action on Sunday night, pulling five people out of the car where the water was next to the dashboard. Among those rescued are a 1
“We’re not doing too much training on this water rescue,” Stacey said. “Instinct, it’s just beginning.”
Heavy thunderstorms hit parts of the Appalachia on Sunday and Monday, sending rivers off their banks and leading to numerous water rescues, mudslides, road closures and power outages, officials said.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Bashir declared a state of emergency on Monday due to heavy rainfall across the state.
“We are acting quickly to ensure the safety and security of families in Kentucky and to get the help we need for our communities,” he said in a statement. He said 13 counties and cities had declared a state of emergency and the Kentucky National Guard had been activated and assisted in high-water emergencies.
Stacey was part of a storm response unit that cut down a tree that fell on a road in Wolfe County, about 75 miles southeast of Lexington. But mudslides began, and Stacey was forced to move her fire truck.
As he turned, Stacey noticed something in the flooded water just across the road, a woman sitting at a stopped window in the car door, waving her cell phone flashlight and screaming for help.
“No one could hear where she was from,” Stacey said. “This little flashlight, when I was driving on the road, just caught my attention. It was God, I tell you. God was to have me where I needed to be. “
Stacey attached a 100-foot rope to the truck and herself and helped pull the passengers out of the car. Wolfe County Sheriff Chris Carson used a wheel loader to retrieve the woman who had the seizure. The occupants of the car were brought to a nearby fire station to be checked by emergency technicians. The woman with the seizure eventually recovered, Stacey said.
A similar rescue took place in central Tennessee, where four adults and a baby were pulled from a partially submerged truck that slid off a bridge covered with water in DeCalb County, news agencies reported. A child was also injured in Nashville when he tripped on a fallen power line while playing outside, officials said.
In Lee County, Kentucky, some homes in Beattyville were evacuated Monday. District Judge Chuck Caudill told WYMT-TV that rescue crews used district dump trucks to help people escape from their homes.
In Magoffin County, Kentucky, the Salyersville Center for Nurses and Rehabilitation was among the places evacuated Sunday. The facility decided to evacuate residents to ensure they remained safe, CEO Joshua L. Calhoun said in a statement to WYMT. He said residents were taken to either a high school or a hospital.
“Although we do not currently have water in the facility and it is still available, due to the risk of flooding, we decided to relocate,” he said.
Heavy or moderate flooding is forecast for Monday on several rivers in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, including various locations along the Kentucky River southeast of Lexington, the National Weather Service said.
In West Virginia, floods affected some areas that were devastated by power outages from ice storms last month. Floods have flooded roads in more than a dozen counties, highway officials said.
The National Guard is assisting with some evacuations Sunday night in the Dunlow area of Wayne County. And about a dozen people were to be assisted at a church in the Canava County community of Cross Lanes on Monday after high water cut off access to the road, WCHS-TV reported.
In Roanne County, residents of a public services neighborhood were asked to save drinking water after a flooded power plant broke down and was inaccessible. District Public Service Clay Roane said in a post on the social network that the water tanks were dangerously low and could not be refilled until the flood waters receded and the problem was rectified.
Some schools have closed or delayed classes due to flooding concerns, and about 13,000 customers have been without electricity in Kentucky and West Virginia, according to poweroutage.us, a utility tracking service.