After having their home flooded for almost two weeks, a Knox County couple received help with flood cleanup Wednesday.
Nancy and Earnie McComish have been living in their home in West Knoxville for 40 years. They said they’ve never seen floodwaters reach their home.
Nancy, 70, and Earnie, 80, said their home flooded when the West Knox Utility sewage pump shut off after it was under floodwater.
“When those pumps quit pumping, it surged the water that would normally go towards the caves that drained in this area, it surged it back into my house,” Nancy McComish said.
The McComishes were displaced after their home flooded. The water ruined a brand new A/C unit, which cut off the heat.
After returning to their home, they were making calls to figure out how the damage was going to be removed from their house.
Nancy McComish said they live off Social Security so they couldn’t afford a restoration company, and they are physically disabled to remove most of their soaked and damaged items themselves.
“We keep dialing and dialing to different numbers and all we hear is ‘We’re collecting data to send on to FEMA,” she said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency wouldn’t be able to help with funding until the state declared a disaster. State officials are still working to assess all flood damage before that happens.
The McComishes were able to get help after their son called the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief of Tennessee.
Karen Webb, a volunteer with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief of Tennessee, and her group of volunteers gutted the McComishes’ bottom floor, removed any remaining water, cleaned the floors and took the trash out to the dump.
Nancy McComish said she was grateful for the group’s help. Her home is in the unincorporated county, which means curbside trash pickup isn’t offered like it is in the Knoxville city limits.
Webb had been volunteering with the organization for almost 20 years. She said flood cleanup is the hardest to deal with.
“This is harder than a tornado or a fire because your things are still here. And you have to go through them and throw them away,” Webb said.
She said her organization will be helping hundreds of Tennesseans with flood cleanup.
Webb said they try to get to all of the people that call as soon as they can, but some, like the McComishes, take priority.
“(The McComishes cleanup) was a ‘priority one.’ What we call ‘priority one’ is ‘immediately.’ We need to get it done immediately. This one really needed to be done,” Webb said.
Anyone who needs help with flood cleanup without worrying about the cost can call 1-833-556-2476.
Volunteers try to get out to the homes within 24 to 48 hours to assess the damage and see what needs to be done, then they will get to work as soon as they can.