Carpenter's Cove Cleanup underway, no word on disaster declaration

Published: May. 7, 2013 at 1:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2016 at 2:10 AM EDT
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CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - People in the Carpenter's Cove section of Lookout Shoals Lake in Catawba County began what they expect to be a long process of cleaning up on Wednesday.

Floodwaters finally receded to the point that a lot of work could begin though the backyards of most homes were still under several feet of water.

"We've seen this a lot," said homeowner Ron Steelmon. He has two homes in the flood area and says it is just getting too expensive to make the needed repairs every eight or nine years. "I'm gonna sell one and cut my losses," he said.

Steelmon, though, is not planning to move out of the cove. Everyone who was out there on Wednesday said the same thing. "We love our neighbors," said Ramona Fullbright. "That's why we will never leave here."

Most people who were hit by the floods do not have insurance. Ryan Carpenter said he just could not afford it. "It's way, way expensive," he said. His brick home will be easier to clean that some others, he thinks. "We have flood prepared it," he said.

Many are still wanting to know what happened to the flood preps of Duke Energy. The company said Tuesday that more rain fell than they expected and that is why so much had to be released through the dams downstream. Steelmon thinks the company could have done a better job.

"They dropped the ball," he said. The debate is expected to continue.

County officials were still adding up dollar estimates of the damage across the county from the flooding but expect to have some figures by the end of the week. They will report those amounts to officials in Raleigh with hopes of getting a state disaster declaration. That could open the way to grants and loans and other help from the state.

Whether that declaration comes or not, most here say they will not give up. "My family has been here since 1929 and we're not leaving," said Mike Benfield.

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