Family shares concerns about flood damage repair costs

TAZEWELL COUNTY, VA (WOAY) – As floodwaters create thousands of dollars worth of damage, some residents worry about how to pay for repairs if FEMA can’t step in.

With waterlogged homes and destroyed furniture, homeowners like Lucky Toney rack up the recovery costs as the rain continues to fall.

“There was mud a quarter-inch deep in the floor,” Toney said. “Things were still seeping water, you know. You go to move something and when you pick it up, water would be dripping out of it. It makes you want to cry.”

Thursday morning, Toney’s son woke up to find he was surrounded by shin-deep water. It wasn’t long before the water rose to his thigh and destroyed almost everything he owned.

“I lost my bed. I’ll have to throw [my] dresser away,” Sean Toney said. “[I lost] my futon, my rugs, some posters and a lot of papers.”

In the seven years they’ve lived in Richlands, Toney says it’s the first time the water has reached his home. Without flood insurance and living on a fixed income, he won’t be able to afford the repairs needed unless FEMA steps in. If assessors decide the damage isn’t bad enough to warrant their effort, Toney will be out of luck.

WOAY reached out to FEMA for comment. They gave the following statement:

“FEMA has been in close coordination with the state monitoring the recent flooding that impacted the southern counties. At the request of the state, FEMA deployed a Liaison Officer to the state Emergency Operations Center to support the state’s activation. With any event, damages assessments will start at the local level. At this time the state and locals are still conducting those assessments to determine amounts of damage and unmet needs. Damages will be looked at across the impacted region, in conjunction with both local and county officials as well as other state agencies.”

We will continue following this story. Stay with WOAY for any updates.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at