By July 30, 2017 Read More →

Flooding brings ‘complete devastation’ to several parts of Marion County

By Sarah Goodrich

Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — As Marion County residents reel from the devastating floods Saturday morning, local officials and county employees describe the flooding as a “complete devastation” and “one of the worst floods” for the affected areas.

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Mannington, Rachel, Farmington and surrounding areas were reported to have experienced several water rescues, multiple road closures and evacuations.

Areas of Mannington, including downtown and Hough Park, could be described as under water, while bridges in Rachel and Farmington were covered with flood water and debris. Buffalo Creek was reported flooded at 25 feet, and Old Monongah Road was closed.

Residents’ vehicles could be seen with water above the hood, and basements and backyards were detailed as swamp-like.

Mannington’s Mayor Jim Taylor, who was born and raised in Mannington, said that “this is the worst I’ve ever seen it.”

He commented the damages from flooding in Mannington were “just pure devastation.”

Marion County Commissioner Randy Elliott, who resides in Mannington, described Saturday’s flooding as like the 1985 floods.

“It was a very severe flood that did a lot of property damage, automobile damages,” he said about the 1985 flood. “… so it really created a lot of damage.”

Though Elliott was in Elkins during the time of the flooding Saturday, he said “it’s very rare that it would get this bad.”

“Seeing it in places we’ve never seen it in years, it is pretty devastating the damage it has caused,” he commented.

Elliott said multiple people in Rachel, Buffalo Road and the Curtisville area had to be rescued from the flood waters.

“It’s pretty serious about what’s going on,” he said.

Chris McIntire, director of the Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, described the Mannington area as “one of the worst floods in that section of the county that I’ve ever seen.”

John Olesky, a retired newspaper editor and Monongah High School graduate now living in Ohio, spoke to community members for comments about how they have been affected by the floods.

North Marion High School graduate Melanie Hughes told Olesky Saturday morning, “On our way home from the beach and seeing pictures of our house, my sister’s house and our neighbor’s house is making me sick to my stomach. Please pray for everyone in Mannington. I hope the water goes down soon so we can eventually make it home.”

After releasing a State of Emergency for multiple counties, Gov. Jim Justice issued a statement Saturday that read, “I urge all West Virginians to join Cathy and I as we continue to pray for the safety and well-being of all of our citizens that have been impacted by this flooding.”

Counties under a State of Emergency were Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Monongalia, Harrison, Taylor and Tucker.

Justice mobilized the National Guard in response to the flooding. No fatalities or major injuries have been reported.

A section of U.S. 19 was reported under water near Dollar General in Worthington.

The Monongahela River in Rivesville was lapping nearer and nearer to U.S. 19 and flooded DeMary’s docks.

Old Monongah Road was closed, preventing cars from getting to Fairmont that way.

Much of Fairmont was without power.


• West Virginia authorities have recovered the body of a 19-year-old woman who was swept away by flash flooding earlier in the week.

Officials say Page Geller’s body was found in the Ohio River on Saturday. Geller and 24-year-old Michael Grow were in a van on Sunday that rolled into a stream following heavy rains. Grow was pulled from the floodwaters and later died at a hospital. Ohio County Emergency Management Director Lou Vargo said authorities did not find Geller until early Saturday morning when heavy rains again caused flooding.

• West Virginia’s attorney general is warning against price gouging after heavy rains caused flooding in the northern parts of the state.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Justice’s decision to declare a State of Emergency in eight counties triggered laws against businesses or contractors raising prices more than 10 percent what it cost 10 days prior to the declaration. The law will remain in effect for 30 days or until the declaration is lifted, whichever is longer, with some exceptions.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of price gouging should file a complaint with the attorney general’s office.

Morrisey said he is “very concerned” by the pictures, video and reports coming from the affected areas.

Email Sarah Goodrich at

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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