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‘26 years in one place. It’s hard’: Letcher County family loses home in mudslide

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 11:16 PM EST
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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - While the Cumberland Valley did not see much flooding during the latest storm, damage from mud and rock slides is still happening.

As heavy rain fell Sunday night, the mountain behind Eugene Johnson’s Letcher County home started to slide.

“I was in the bed asleep and I felt something hit the trailer,” said Johnson.

That hit was just the first slide. Johnson looked out his kitchen window and saw mud pressed against the trailer.

“In the meantime, the neighbors were beating on the side of the trailer, ‘Get out. Get out’,” said Johnson.

He had just enough time to brace himself as a second slide shook his home.

‘We felt the trailer moving and then all the sudden it fell off the foundation and hit the ground. The lights went out. My wife hit the floor. My son hit the floor,” he said. “It felt just like a roller coaster like when you’re moving on it and then all of the sudden it just drops. After it dropped you could feel the roll which you can see how much it’s leaned but you could feel the roll.”

Mud and water rushed through the trailer as Johnson and his family gathered their three dogs and left the home.

“I think if the frame hadn’t dug into the ground like it did when it fell it’s a possibility that it would have slid on off,” Johnson said.

The trailer has moved about five feet from where it originally sat. Monday morning, the family was able to retrieve clothes and a few items from the home but everything inside is damaged.

“The middle of my bedroom floor it just buckled everything to where the plywood and the two by eights and everything is just broken,” said Johnson.

Johnson says the community along with his work family as well as his wife have given them overwhelming support, but they still do not even know where to start to clean up.

“26 years in one place. It’s hard,” he said. “The man upstairs had his eye on us making sure we were okay on that part. He sure was.”

Two years ago, a mudslide happened on the far end of his property. Abandoned Mine Lands investigators took pictures and told them the road above them had dropped down.

“They said, ‘We’ve got it all documented down if you have anymore trouble make sure you call and let us know’. Two years later my house got took out for the same incident,” said Johnson.

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