by Brooke Buchanan
Many residents were affected by the flooding that occurred late February.
Among many restaurants and residents along the Ohio River, Boathouse BBQ was one of many to be affected by the flooding. Despite the preparations made, the river waters ultimately filled the restaurant with water. “We prepared for the flood. We ordered trailers to carry away our contents,” owner of Boathouse BBQ Steve Peters said. “We prep the building by opening all the windows and doors to allow the river to flow through. We killed the power and waited it out.”
As a result of the flood, the Boathouse BBQ has suffered physical damage, as well as financial loss. “Not only do we lose the sales but also the time it took the staff to prepare the food that we will lose before it would have been sold,” Peters said.
Peters and his crew spent days cleaning up, sanitizing, repairing and painting the restaurant. “The physical challenges are real,” Peters said. “The emotional roller coaster takes a toll.”
For rebuilding, Peters is using materials that can withstand water in order to eliminate additional repairs in the future. “We continue to learn and build on our plans to make things better and more prepared,” Peters said. The Boathouse BBQ is back and open for business.
Janice Decator, who has lived along the Little Kanawha River for almost 10 years, didn’t expect to be be hit with the flooding as hard as her family did. “I prepared for the flood four hours in advance. My husband was at work, so I did what I could by putting things up to try and clear out the lower level of the house. When having five children in the house, it makes it a little difficult to do a lot of things by yourself, but my older sons and his friends came to help,” Decator said. “We got what we could and had to leave the rest.”
Being along the river, Peters sees the river rise and fall everyday. “It gives me a real knowledge of its threat. With all the rain in a short time, this time of year, when the ground is already saturated leaves nowhere else for the water to go,” Peters said.
Decator says that no one is ever truly prepared for a flood, storm, etc. “Sometimes the Weather Channel tells you one thing, but only Mother Nature knows,” Decator said. One way to prepare for a flooding, or natural disaster, is to keep extract food and flashlights in the house.
Throughout the course of the flooding, Decator’s neighborhood was there to help one another through their time of need. “We are there for one another. We have all lost a lot of items that were of our parents and that’s one thing you can never get back,” Decator said.
Since Decator and her family had moved along the Little Kanawha River, they have never been flooded. “It has been very exhausting getting the mud out; we have work from daylight to dark,” Decator said. “My main concern is not my home, it is the safety of my children. A house can be replaced.”