Residents of towns like Rainelle and White Sulphur Springs continue to gut their homes and clean up debris. Many residents are now moving on to the next step: applying for assistance and then deciding on their next move.
The question is: will they stay and rebuild or go elsewhere?
Patrick Burns’ home on Mill Hill Road in White Sulphur Springs was severely damaged in the flood. He’s registered with Federal Emergency Management Agency and an inspector has been out to take a look at his home. But he says he’s still fighting his way through red tape.
“When he came up here, he was talking about the foundation of it. He said in FEMA’s view, the house is salvageable. But, I’m looking at it. This is twisted and the whole house is twisted," said Burns. "My insurance company--who I have flood insurance with--the adjustor was real quick and a really good guy. But now we have to wait on an engineer to come look at the house.”
Individual grants from FEMA are capped at $33,000 per person. For most, that’s not enough to totally rebuild. But Burns says would like to stay in the same neighborhood. He just isn’t quite sure if he’ll be able to at all.
“We’re going to try to—probably—buy another house somewhere here out of the floodplain. If we can. But, the big thing is, I’m not sure it’s going to be possible because—I don’t know—I’ve heard reports that there are a hundred people looking for places to stay because they couldn’t live there,” said Burns.
While on the ground residents are focused on cleaning out the old and replacing it with new, State Police and the West Virginia National Guard continue a search for a final missing person. The hardest hit by flooding, 15 people died in Greenbrier County. The final missing person, reportedly a teenage girl, is presumed to be dead.