HAZARD — Residents in the Perry County community of Big Creek started cleanup after a flash flood hit the area late Monday night, flooding the local elementary school, homes and vehicles, while other property in the area sustained damage as well.
No classes are currently in session, but staff at Big Creek Elementary will have a major cleanup job ahead of them after several inches of water entered the school.
Administrators and central office staff with the Perry County School District assessed the damage Tuesday morning. Principal Jeff Castle said the main thing to remember is that no one was injured or inside the school at the time of the flood, but he expects an intensive cleaning effort to get the building ready again for students.
“I think it will just take pressure washers and squeegees,” Castle said.
Every room in the school, from the kitchen to the classrooms, was inundated with water from the nearby creek. Flooring in the cafeteria was bowed upward, and Castle said that will be just one thing of many that will need to be repaired or cleaned moving forward. Assessments were still in the early stages Tuesday morning, and he could not give a time frame for when the clean-up might be complete.
Jimmy Coyle has been an employee at the school for the past eight years, and said never have floodwaters reached the school while he has worked there, though another employee said the school was similarly flooded 10 years ago.
Coyle also declined to estimate how long it might take to clean the school.
“It’s according to what we’ll have to do,” he said. “Every room’s got it.”
The school wasn’t the only structure to sustain damage from the flood. Magistrate Ronald Combs surveyed the area late Monday night, and along with other members of the fiscal court was set to see the area again Tuesday morning.
“Just guessing and looking from the main road, there’s at least 25 trailers and homes that got flooded,” Combs said.
Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble said flood water reached his yard in the Chavies community, while flooding also affected the Brownsfork area. Noble said culverts had been washed out, but most of the damage seemed to be contained to Big Creek.
WYMT-TV in Hazard reported that some residents were evacuated from the area before the floodwaters crested. No injuries have been reported.