ARH employee narrowly escapes rising floodwaters with family; home a total loss

ARH employee narrowly escapes rising floodwaters with family; home a total loss
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:08 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - ARH has been raising money and collecting donations for employees and other flood survivors in eastern Kentucky. One employee there worked through the night to get her family to safety.

Lee Ann McIntyre lives in Perry County, and lost her family home and their cars in the flood. But it’s her overwhelming optimism and positive outlook while sharing how they narrowly escaped rising waters that stands out more than anything.

“We got little bags. Put little drawstring bags on their backs with just a few personal items. I had to think quickly because it was so fast and by the time we left our house, the water was over halfway up our steps,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre and her family were asleep in their Perry County home the night of the flood. Her mom drove over, waking them up quickly. But the water was rising just as fast.

“By the time I got dressed and got to the front porch, the water was in the driveway. Then within five minutes, we saw my car float off down the road,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre knew they had to get to high ground somehow, even in the dead of night.

“Had to start climbing up the mountain. And you had to sort of crawl. I mean the ground was so wet you couldn’t walk. We were falling. We found a neighbor’s house that was high up and we went to their house and they hosted us that whole night into the next day. Until the water went down and we could get out,” McIntyre said.

As McIntyre climbed to safety, with her 11-and-9-year-old by her side, she wondered if the water would ever stop rising.

“Being a parent, you’re trying to keep your kids calm. Have a positive attitude. But you’re sitting there watching everything you’ve worked hard for float away,” McIntyre said.

She tried to distract her kids from what McIntyre recalls as the scariest part of that night.

“It was dark. And I guess as things were hitting the power poles and power lines, they would crack and spark. In the silence of the night and in the darkness, you could hear it in random places and throughout the community,” McIntyre said.

She was thankful to be alive as reality started to sink in in the light of the next day.

“That house, my mom actually brought me home from the hospital in that house. I grew up in that house. I’ve had that house ever since in my adult life,” McIntyre said.

Now it’s a total loss. On the side of that mountain, the McIntyres watched everything they’ve worked for float away.

“It’s not the future we planned. But it’s the future we’ve been given. And I think we just have to make the best of what we have now,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre’s just thankful her family is safe. She also has two aunts that live nearby, who are in their seventies and were trapped in their home when the water started to rise. McIntyre’s brother got the aunts to the attic while her cousins carved a whole in the roof and pulled the two women out one by one using an extension cord, eventually getting them to safety.

ARH is still collecting and delivering donations. McIntyre said her company has been so helpful to her family during this time.

Copyright 2022 WKYT. All rights reserved.