Tennessee crews aid Kentuckians during devastating flooding

Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - At least eight people have been killed by devastating flooding in parts of Kentucky.

The flood waters quickly rose to reach the rooftops of homes on Thursday morning after strong storms dumped inches of rain in a short amount of time.

First responders from Middle Tennessee have been sent to help rescue people from the flooded areas and begin the recovery effort.

The Tennessee Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team deployed three crews that have been airlifting families off roofs and conducting high water rescues. This group includes members of the Nashville Fire Department.

The Tennessee National Guard said it had sent five rescue helicopters and crews to help lift people out from the dangerously high waters that have ripped buildings apart, left mud everywhere, and devastated communities.

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

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

“In a situation like this where it is overwhelming the community, organizations like Hope Force can help, and there are many other wonderful organizations out there,” Stoltzfus said. “A lot of my friends working in organizations that are also looking at this and looking at responding.”

He said the key to a flood recovery is getting mud, drywall, and furniture out of houses to allow the structure to dry. That will prevent mold from growing and allow some items to be salvaged.

“For us, of course, we are ready to get in there and get it done,” Stoltzfus said. “But we also have to go in ready to just engage with the homeowner. Love on them in simple ways, and listening is a big part of it.”

He said there are many groups preparing volunteers for the long recovery. Right now, they’re waiting for the water to go down and trying to leave space for first responders to rescue everyone.

The Red Cross said it is also preparing to send crews to Kentucky but, at this point, has not been given a specific assignment.

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