TS Lee Flood Cleanup Athens Pennsylvania

by on December 20th, 2014
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Cleanup began in areas affected by the recent flood in North East Pennsylvania, almost as soon as the flood water from Tropical Storm Lee went down.

We are not some large city with thousands of residents. We are an area of little towns, nestled together. Yes, in the coming weeks we will need items but we are stocked for now. What we need are bodies to help clean up.

The following communities have been hit hard, Athens, the east side in Sayre, East Athens, parts of Athens Township, Milltown, Wildwood, Greens Landing, Milian, Ulster, Towanda, and Wysox. These are areas all within a 20 mile radius of my hometown. Local officials say downtown Athens was hit the hardest, we have more than 30 of homes here, which will need to be torn down, and they are not done surveying the mess yet. We are in Bradford County Pennsylvania and have been declared a disaster area.

I do live a few short blocks from the flooded downtown area of Athens. My home was not affected so I am helping my neighbors. What a mess we have locally in Athens and surrounding areas. You would not believe how bad it is until you are down there working, removing items from homes.

I was there, the photo attached shows a small look into what we are dealing with. Notice how the colors are muted around us? That is not trick photography. Its the muddy residue that is covering everything below that water line.

I am the woman in the purple Yahoo shirt, and I am part of a clean up crew. I was part of a small group of volunteers who met in the parking lot of a local bank. We heard help was needed by Karen, her husband and their son in law , in an apartment house in the 600 block on South Main Street. So Gina, Jen, four teens and I went there to help. Inside the water was at least waist high in every room on the first floor.

Everything in the home was ruined. I noticed a computer tower, so I unplugged it from the cable and wall. It was a smaller tower which maybe weighted 15-20 pounds before the flood, but it was filled with mud so it was much heavier. Soaked papers from the desk, along with photo albums were all removed and tossed in the ever growing pile.

The bed had the blankets thrown back, as they were left when we got the evacuation notice via PA system at 3 am on Thursday morning. The blankets on the raised bed did not have the water marks on them but the mattresses were soaked. The clothes in the closet still hung on hangers, some untouched and some soaked.

It was a condemned house, because the foundation had a five to six foot wide hole in it. The dirt had filled in the cellar with lots of rocks, mud and other debris. The under tow there had to be very bad to rip out the foundation like that. Several homes have these giant holes in their foundations.

Everything below the water lines is discolored. It’s like a magic wand removed all colors from anything the water touched. This mud smells bad, its a mix of gas, oil, kerosene and raw sewage. Its highly toxic, and masks are needed. Even with the masks it gets in your nose and throat, my throat burned a few hours after I got home. You must wear gloves in this area, because of the toxins. We were picking up mud covered items that are slippery with plastic gloves.

We carried all sorts of items outside to the curb so they can be hauled away. So sad looking at those piles that line the streets down here. Clothes, photos, appliances, computers, and everything imaginable lay in those piles. What reduced me to tears was the baby walkers, and other infant stuff in those piled. My own daughter with three kids ages, 18 months, 3 years and a 7 year old live 2 blocks up the street, from that apartment building. Thank God they live up a little hill that the water did not climb.

Three Haz-mat trucks were on the opposite side of the street from where we parked. One had a low boy to carry the four wheelers. I never thought I would see those trucks in my home town. I watched our Chief of Police go down the street on a four wheeler, and that is also something I have never seen. .

Please this is a plea to everyone in the valley, please donate your time. Get to those affected areas and help. Get on a clean up crew or go help make meals. Offer to babysit so parents can get out there and clean.. We truly need every able bodied person to help restore our peaceful quaint little valley back to her natural beauty.

On face book there are several groups set up

Cleanup Volunteers for Flood Victims 2011

Valley Flood Clean-up Crew

Helping Hands for Flood Victims 2011

Valley Flood 2011 Babysitters

Lost and Found Pets In Valley Flood 2011 Ny/pa

Flood Donations 2011

(if you know more groups post them here)

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