Community-wide Effort to Get Benton Area Residents Back on Their Feet After Heavy Flooding

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SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- In Columbia County, the clean-up continues after several days of heavy flooding.

Folks in the Benton area were hit particularly hard with some stuck in their homes for days after debris shut down the only way out of their neighborhood.

In the village of Elk Grove near Benton, it`s a muddy mess that folks living in this Columbia County community are still dealing with, after being flooded out by water from Fishing Creek.

That flood water left debris covering Central Road, leaving folks stuck here.

“We were trapped, it was like we were on an island but we're fortunate, the EMS that they have now, they were wonderful,” said Sun Jones. “They came checked on us all the time, made sure that we could get medicine, whatever.”

Even after crews cleared that debris, the help continued.

The North Mountain Fire Company was going door to door bringing food and water.

“People bringing food into the North Mountain Fire Company and we've just been distributing them all day long,” said Steve Fetscher, the president of the fire company.

At the Benton Volunteer Fire Company is one of the few places in the area where folks affected by flooding can pick up free cleaning supplies and get something to eat.

“We have a bunch of cleaning supplies, garbage bags, stuff like that,” said Asst. Chief Larry Remphrey. “We're still accepting supplies, so they can drop them off here for the residents.”

Outside the fire hall, Angela Johnson’s family was offering up free chili and sandwiches.

“We're just trying to help out to any of the responders and to anybody who needs,” said Johnson. “So, we've been trying to put the word out, we've been on Facebook.”

“This is where the water line was at its highest point,” said Matthew Berstraeten, the pastor at Benton United Methodist Church.

Although his church is victim of the flood, getting six feet of water in its finished basement, it's another place offering free food.

“Anybody in Benton needs a meal, whether you've been working, helping, whether you've been working in your own house if you just need a meal come on out,” said Berstraeten.

The Columbia County Emergency Management Agency is opening a Multi-Agency Resource Center at Benton High School on Friday, Aug. 17th and Saturday, Aug. 18th for any individual/family affected by flooding.

MARC is available for all Columbia County residents and will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

The following agencies will have a representative present for questions, concerns and to provide information:

  • Red Cross
  • CMSU
  • Columbia County Agriculture Department
  • Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)
  • Columbia County Emergency Management Agency
  • Tri-County COG Inspection Services
  • Other State Agencies

Residents are encouraged to attend and bring their complete Damage Assessment Forms. If you need a Damage Assessment Form, contact your local municipality.

For questions, contact the Columbia County EMA at (570) 389-5720.

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