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Flash floods wash away Gallipolis Ferry home

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GALLIPOLIS FERRY — Friday’s rains came hard and fast along local creeks, bringing flood waters into homes and even carrying one home off its foundation.


Martha Murphy of Gallipolis Ferry lived in 31 foster homes growing up, 25 of which were in West Virginia. Home has a different meaning for her than it might for others. Friday night she watched the flash flood along Five Mile Rd. carry away what she thought would be her permanent home.


Murphy said when the rain began, she was chopping wood. She went inside her home with her dog and began to make coffee. As the water began to creep up into her driveway, she said she unplugged the telephone and television, grabbed the dog and headed to a nearby trailer on her property to wait out the storm. Shortly after she arrived at the trailer, she heard a loud noise and looked out the window to see her house, a double-wide, being pulled off its foundation. The water carried the home about 1,700 feet away where a tree caught it up against the property line Murphy shares with a neighbor.


“I have never seen it come down so fast,” Murphy said about the rain.


After the house went, Murphy’s above ground swimming pool also went and a white outbuilding. The pool and outbuilding, along with its remnants were “busted to pieces,” as Murphy put it. As for the home, it’s stable, for now, against a tree, but Murphy’s not sure how long that will last with more rains predicted. Murphy said firefighters told her they could observe inside the windows to see the dishes on the table were still on the table, even after floating off the foundation.


Murphy said she can’t get into the doors to see the damage or retrieve her belongings. The front porch has fallen, blocking off the front entrance and the back door is bent.


“Right now it’s standing,” she said. “It might be salvageable.”


Murphy, who is a retiree on a fixed income, and also a veteran from the U.S. Army National Guard, has no homeowner’s insurance. She said she had it in 2008 when another flood hit but didn’t have coverage for flood insurance and took a loss. From that point on, she said she dropped the insurance and has concentrated on buying dirt to dump along the creek bank to build it up near her house and has also inquired into solutions to help with flooding around the creek with no success.


Murphy, who has been staying with her sister-in-law, said people have been kind and offered to give her clothes and those types of items but she really needs manpower and help to stabilize what’s left of her home to see if it can be salvaged. She’s called the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help but, since the area wasn’t declared an official disaster area, FEMA cannot be deployed. Murphy said she was given other phone numbers to try for help and will continue to reach out to see what’s available.


Murphy has lived in the home at 205 Ginger Lane off of Five Mile Rd. for 16 years. Before then she worked in California and when she decided to retire, she remembered growing up in foster homes in West Virginia and came home. However, home isn’t exactly there at this point, it’s out of Murphy’s reach with her limited resources. She has an old trailer on her property which has electric but no running water with both the kitchen and bathroom in bad shape. She said at this point, she’s not sure what she’s going to do - fix up the old trailer to make it livable or find help to salvage her home which got washed away. Both options require money and manpower she doesn’t have.


Murphy, who lives alone, said she’s trying to keep her spirits up because it doesn’t do any good to cry about what happened. It doesn’t fix anything.


Anyone who can help Murphy or provide assistance may call her at the residence of her sister-in-law, Dorothy Voiers at 304-675-7992.


A resident on Jim Hill Rd. reported 4.25 inches of rain fell in a short period of time Friday evening in the area where homes sustained the most damage from flash flooding.

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