Tennessee crews help Kentuckians during devastating floods

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – At least eight people have been killed by devastating flooding in parts of Kentucky.

Floodwaters rose rapidly to reach the roofs of homes on Thursday morning after heavy storms dumped inches of rain in a short time.

First responders from central Tennessee were dispatched to help rescue people from flooded areas and begin the recovery effort.

The Tennessee Helicopter Water Rescue Team deployed three crews who airlifted families from rooftops and performed deep-sea rescues. This group includes members of the Nashville Fire Department.

The Tennessee National Guard said it sent five rescue helicopters and crews to help pull people out of dangerously high waters that tore buildings apart, left mud everywhere and devastated communities.

Once everyone has been rescued and the damage assessed, the focus will quickly shift to figuring out what can be salvaged. That’s where organizations like Brentwood-based Hope Force International come in.

Emergency services manager Joey Stoltzfus is currently in western Kentucky helping Hope Force rebuild homes after tornadoes. He plans to drive east on Friday to understand the situation and how they can help.

“In a situation like this where the community is overwhelmed, organizations like Hope Force can help, and there are many other wonderful organizations out there,” Stoltzfus said. “Many of my friends working in organizations who are also looking at this and looking to address it.”

He said the key to a flood recovery is removing mud, drywall and furniture from homes to allow the structure to dry. This will prevent mold from forming and allow some items to be salvaged.

“For us, of course, we’re ready to get in there and do it,” Stoltzfus said. “But we also have to be ready to engage with the owner. Love them in a simple way, and listening is a big part of that.

He said there are many groups that prepare volunteers for the long recovery. Right now they are waiting for the water to go down and trying to make room for first responders to rescue everyone.

The Red Cross said it was also preparing to send crews to Kentucky but, at this stage, has not received a specific mission.

Copyright 2022 WSMV. All rights reserved.