Houghton County flood survivors have hope

Published: Jun. 20, 2018 at 4:36 PM EDT
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"It just was the most insane thing you've ever seen in your life," said Bethany Jones, just one of several home owners to escape devastating flash floods and mudslides June 17.

Jones and her family were in their home on East Second Street in Ripley when the storm hit. Soon after, they were surrounded by raging currents more than 100 feet wide and up to 20 feet deep.

"At this point, major, major, we've got to get out this second or we're going to die. We got them down to the front porch really fast. I was terrified because this was white water, debris. These big trees are floating down in two feet of water here, 20 feet on the other side," said Jones.

Jones' partner Jeff made multiple trips across the rushing water to help each member of their family to safety. They made it to a neighbor's house just before tons of mud and rock slid down the hill to engulf their home.

"None of these pictures, none of what you see, it is nothing compared with how bad it was," said Jones.

Though their family survived without injury, their home did not.

"It's a miracle. It's joyful and I think until you have run for your life with your kids you don't know what it is like to not care about stuff anymore. When I grabbed those children and ran out the door I did not look at my stuff. It doesn't matter," said Jones.

In the few days since, the street has been filled with excavating equipment, shovels, buckets, and up to 70 workers. All are volunteers and donations which arrived long before any official assistance.

"So far neither FEMA, the National Guard, 2-1-1, nobody is here. It is the people that live here, our friends, that are just getting it done. By the time any of those people mobilize we're going to have gotten it done," said Jones.

For Jones, there is only one way to describe this community response.

"Beautiful, poetic miracles. Absolute miracles that are just happening," she said.

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