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Posted: 5:55 p.m. Friday, July 12, 2013
By Greg Suskin
FORT LAWN, S.C. —
A Fort Lawn church is cleaning up, again, following a second major flood in less than two weeks. Pastor Karen Richmond of Fort Lawn Methodist Church took video on her cellphone of the water rushing into the fellowship hall. The water inside was 8 inches deep. On Friday, the muddy line on the walls was still visible from where 3 feet of water stood there on July 1. A neighbor Christy Ervin showed up to help church members clean up. "It's sad. It's really sad because you don't know where they're going to get the money to repair the damages," she said. "I mean, they're just a church." During the first flood the drywall downstairs was damaged, along with cabinets, and appliances that were found floating in the hallways. During the second strong storm on Thursday night, several homes were threatened, streets flooded, and water got into the town's fire station as well. On Friday, the town of Fort Lawn called in an engineer with storm water experience to seek advice on how to make sure there's no "next time." Fort Lawn's Mayor John Rumford said a permanent fix will be expensive, but there are grants the city can apply for. "We'll see if there's any federal assistance and state assistance that we can get to help alleviated the problem in the community," Rumford said. Nearby streets have a small drainage system that can't handle so much water, so fast. They estimate that 3 inches of rain fell in an hour Thursday. For now, the church is putting off major restoration work. It's too expensive, and Richmond is skeptical about spending the money. "It's a waste of money to do that now. We really have to find a way to get this fixed first," she said. The engineer who toured the area Friday did not want to comment about what he found, but he did say state and local agencies will work together to lay out a strategy to prevent future flooding.
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