National Guard begins flood debris cleanup process in Fayette County

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Sunday’s flooding in Fayette County left many homes and belongings damaged.

Because of the local state of emergency, the Fayette County Office of Emergency Management was able to call in the National Guard to help with cleanup on Friday. 

OEM Director Kevin Walker says this debris cleanup process could take a little over a week to complete.

“Because this is flooded material we have to take it to a staging area. It has to be separated, put into different bins and then taken to the county landfill,” Walker said. 

National Guard soldiers came from all over the state to assist with the cleanup process.

They started in Minden, but they’ll be coming around to each home in Fayette County that was affected by the flooding and will be scooping up the debris left out by the homeowners.

While the National Guard, as a whole, has been focused on assisting in the pandemic, this shows they still have to be prepared when disaster strikes.

“I mean, it’s Father’s Day Weekend. I had a planned weekend with my family,” Sgt. First Class Underwood said. “My daughter was coming in, but you know, that’s okay, because these people down here need help, and that’s why we wear the uniform is to help these people.” 

They won’t be the only ones helping. Walker says more groups will be arriving in the coming days. 

“We have recovery teams that are coming in from organizations. We’re working with Team Rubicon. They’re supposed to be deploying some people. The American Baptist Men are supposed to be bringing some people in,” Walker said. “So we’re working on different aspects. We want the people down here to know that we are here to help them, and we’re going to do everything we physically can to get them back to some sense of normalcy.”

They plan to hit the Scarbro and Whipple areas next before going into Oak Hill and Fayetteville.

Because teams will be assisting homeowners in getting stuff out of their homes, the National Guard plans to make a second trip around to pick up more debris.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.