More rain on the way: Families scramble to salvage items from destroyed homes

KNWA

Monday, Benton County's Public Safety Administrator Robert McGowen and Tim Gehring, a representative with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, traveled from city to city assessing the damage.

BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA) — The cost of storm damage in Benton Co. continues to increase with the total now more than $6 million.

“There was no warning,” Melissa Blackfox said. “It was just all of sudden.”

Blackfox lives off Logan Cave in Siloam Springs. She tells us she was home with a friend when the storms rolled through last week. “There was a wall on top of me,” Blackfox said.

She said her friend went to get her 18-year-old daughter, who was hiding in a closet on the other side of the trailer. “He saw the roof come off … as the wall came on top of him,” Blackfox said.

Blackfox says they were all able to get out of the home and met up with her mother Debbie Nielsen, who lives next door.

“It was like my alarm went off on my phone and within 5, 10 seconds it was gone,” Nielsen said. “It was so hard and so fast.”

Nielsen’s home still stands with damage done to the roof, but what was once Blackfox’s home is now a pile of debris.

“It was devastating,” Blackfox said. “My life [is] gone.”

The damage done at Blackfox’s home was just one of several reported. Siloam Springs Electric Company reports $1.5 million worth of damages.

Monday, Benton County’s Public Safety Administrator Robert McGowen and Tim Gehring, a representative with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, traveled from city to city assessing the damage.

“It’s an incredible amount of debris and we figure in cubic yards,” Gehring said. “There’s thousands and thousands in cubic yards of debris out there, it’s incredible.” Gehring believes the county meets the threshold to apply for FEMA aid for public assistance.

In Rogers, city crews began picking up curbside debris hauling 40 to 50 truckloads from around West Rogers. The city says it will continue to pick up debris on Tuesday, October 29.

For people like Blackfox, it could be weeks before the debris is completely picked up.

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