“The whole road was gone” Cocke County resident recounts flooding

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COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) —  WATE 6 On Your Side crews spoke with people in Cocke County who were ordered to evacuate late Tuesday night as the Pigeon, French Broad and Nolichucky rivers flooded. East Tennessee was one of many areas in the Southeast to experience flooding as remnants of Tropical Storm Fred moved across the region.

By early Wednesday morning, shelters were emptied as those evacuation orders lifted. One man who didn’t evacuate was Dustin Bentley, he lives right across from the Pigeon River.

“It hadn’t even been two-minutes and here they {police} come walking through the yard to the door and they’re like, ‘We’re evacuating, you have to evacuate,'” said Bentley of what happened when he got the news he was being asked to leave.

He said it’s pretty rare the water gets that close to his front door steps. “The water was all the way up into the grass up here, you can actually see the debris that’s right there,” said Bentley. “The whole road was gone, you couldn’t even see it, it was even over this rock wall.”

That’s when Bentley said his thought process slightly shift, considering what they’d need to do to escape. “The escape route is to go over the railroad tracks and walk down the tracks because it’s the highest spot,” he said.

He said he’s thankful it didn’t come to that. “I didn’t wanna leave the dogs and I didn’t wanna leave home,” Bentley began. “I stood there on the porch and the water was all the way up here and I said, ‘Dear God, Please don’t harm the home, don’t bother the family.’”

He said while it was a scary situation, he knows nothing could ever push him to move and live elsewhere. “No, I love it, it’s home,” he said. “I love the river right here, fishing whenever you want to and it’s a great spot actually.”

WATE 6 On Your Side Reporter also spoke with crews measuring the Pigeon River earlier in the afternoon. At that time those crews said the levels at the Pigeon and French Broad River were going down. However, they said they were still keeping any eye on the Nolichucky River.

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