South Pittsburg flood victims cleaning up, need help - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

South Pittsburg flood victims cleaning up, need help

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The Marion County town of South Pittsburg has entered into week two of cleanup. Flash floods ravaged the downtown area last Wednesday night, tearing up roads, homes, businesses and cars.

State agencies toured the extensive damage to determine if financial aid may be available for the cash-strapped town and its residents, but despite millions in damages, it might not qualify.

Volunteers and hired companies are out all over South Pittsburg cleaning up, but there are some places at a standstill and having a hard time bouncing back.

Daily life is certainly not back to normal yet. Even listening to the radio is on pause.

"I know a lot of our radio listeners are missing us and we're missing them too. We'll be glad if we ever get back on the air again," WEPG's "The Voice Man," Will Rodgers said.

WEPG was hit hard by flash flooding. They've had to throw out all their carpet, some wires, and other key items that keep their air waves flowing.

"Our on air computer that operates our radio was on the floor so it's dead," Rodgers said.

While those things can be replaced, their more than $80,000 transmitter can't. So they're trying to just repair the lower part that was submerged, which could take a while.

"You can't run to Wal-Mart and get stuff like this and this transmitter was made years ago so just trying to find the parts for it's difficult," Rodgers said.

Things are also at a standstill at the American Legion, where a thick layer of mud is making cleanup too challenging for the more than 40, mostly elderly veterans who are members there.

"Pretty incredible the force of the water. You can see the jam and all is smashed in," American Legion Post 62 Adjutant George Ison said.

The metal door is bent and large items like a refrigerator and cabinets were no match for the strength of the rushing water.

"Destroyed everything in here. I mean everything was upright. Water came in, everything is down, tumbling all the way through," American Legion Post 62 Commander Monroe Powers, Jr. said.

With no insurance, they're hoping volunteers will help them restore the bottom floor of their nearly century-old building.

"The desire for the veterans to have a place to go where they can communicate, work for their community and their county and city. That is their number one priority. They fought for this country," Powers said.

To help with any of the cleanup efforts, call the emergency response call center at 423-486-2151.


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