BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – Kacey Gantzer says an 11-and-a-half foot wall of water was roaring down the creek Sunday afternoon, heading straight for their house.
Gantzer, of Glencoe Road, was home alone with her one- and three-year-old daughters and was preparing to get them to safety. She strapped one in a backpack on her back, tied the other to her body with a rope, and was about to climb the sheer hill behind their home to escape the floodwaters.
At the last moment, her husband Chuck got home, got them into the car and “we shot across the bridge and got down the road,” she recalls.
Soon, the concrete bridge that connected their property without outside world was in pieces, in the creek.“The girls were so scared,” she said. “They still are. They keep saying ‘Our bridge is broken!’
“Since then, Kacey has looked back on their escape with amazement.
“I must have called 911 twenty times,” she said. “They always say even when service is down, you can get 911. Well, I couldn’t.”She says their basement was filled with water, but she dismissed that, saying many neighbors have it worse.
But the Gantzer’s property—which used to be neatly manicured and filled with flower and vegetable gardens, has fallen away, with only a narrow strip of land—eight feet at most—between their house and the creek.“I’m the person who teaches other people how to have pretty gardens!” said Gantzer, who works for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. “Now look at this.”
One construction company gave her an estimate of the cost of a new bridge.“It was more than the value of our house,” she said.
Right now, they come and go via a small homemade footbridge that people helped build.
Meanwhile, her daughters Adaline and Amelia look cautiously out the window. The pieces of their former bridge are lying in the creek, creating an obstruction that will only create more problems the next time the creek comes up.
“We’re so worried it’s going to rain again,” she said. And as she said it, thunder rumbled ominously.
She said they are grateful for help from Family Roots Farm in Wellsburg and Pro Foam in Glencoe. But what they need most is what they have no idea how to get.“A new bridge,” she said through tears.