BETHEL, N.C. — Dozens of people in Cruso are trying to figure out what they’re going to do next after their homes were destroyed by floods caused by Tropical Depression Fred.
What You Need To Know
At least 20 people remain unaccounted for in Haywood County as of Thursday night
Ray Strain’s Cruso home was swept off its foundation by floodwaters
Jukebox Junction in Bethel is collecting donations and handing out essential items to those impacted by the flood damage
Ray Strain and his girlfriend are among those who live in Cruso and lost most of their belongings after Tuesday’s devastating flood.
“Our house just floated right down the river,” Strain said. “So we’re just trying to get some help.”
Strain and his girlfriend were at work at the time of the major flood event, but their neighbor wasn’t so lucky.
“She was asleep when the houses started moving and she rode [on the Pigeon River] inside the house for about 400 feet,” Strain said. “She was able to be rescued for, I don’t know how long, she stayed in there.”
The couple stopped by Jukebox Junction in Bethel Thursday to pick up basic supplies like toothpaste, deodorant, soap and a toothbrush. They also got several non-perishable food items that were donated by community members.
“There is so many people out here offering help,” Strain said.
Michelle Fenton, who grew up in Cruso, is among those helping pack Ziploc bags of toiletries to give out to affected residents like Strain.
“We watched this happen before when I was younger in 2004,” Fenton said. “Now that I’m older and see this happen again, I feel like this is the one thing I can do to help my community.”
Fenton’s home was spared by the floodwaters, but she is devastated by what has happened to her community.
“We’ve spent a lot of time crying,” Fenton said. “It’s hard seeing it.”
More than 200 search and rescue crews are looking for at least 20 people who are unaccounted for as of Thursday night. Fenton is anxious for her neighbors who are missing loved ones.
“People are looking for an elderly couple, and I know a lot of people in the campground [in Cruso] got wash away and that’s where they’re searching for,” Fenton said.
As the Haywood County community continues to recover from the devastating floods, Strain and his girlfriend are in disbelief.
“I get up every day and go to work for this life, and now it’s just taken away from me,” Strain said. “It’s hard…really hard.”
Haywood County has set up a help line for those who are affected by the flood.
Anyone who needs assistance is asked to call (828) 356-2022 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.