FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Many people in Fayette county woke up to high water on Monday, August 15, 2022.

“I woke up, I went to the bathroom, looked out the window and the water was already flowing,” said Tommy Whittington, the Chief of Smithers Fire Dept, who was rescued by boat that morning.

“So the worst thing an emergency manager wants to receive is a phone call at four in the morning telling you that you have major flooding going on and a town is underwater,” said Kevin Walker, the director of Fayette County Emergency management.

Shortly after, Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in Fayette and Kanawha Counties, as the waters continued to rise. Walker jumped into action to put plans in place, boots on the ground, and deal with the damage and debris.

But in doing so, Smithers Mayor Anne Cavalier said it is important to assist the victims in dealing with the grief, and remember to them it is more than just debris.

“It could be everything they own, inside their house and their house is their major investment. It’s their pictures, it’s their moments, it’s their memories,” said Cavalier.

Once they ensure everyone’s safety, they move into the long-term recovery phase to try and get as many people as possible as close to their normal lives.

Assistance from the National Guard is a major resource in doing so, something they can now utilize.

“It will help us tremendously, the assets the governor approved will help us tremendously in getting the citizens back to where they were pre-flood,” said Walker.

“It’s a great thing to take this stuff that’s on the streets to get it all out of here because we still have stuff to put out there,” said Whittington.

“But honestly when I heard that the National Guard had been deployed, that the governor had sent the national guard, I broke down and cried,” said Cavalier.

Members of the National Guard and equipment are on the way from Summersville. according to Walker.

On Thursday, August 25, 2022, they begin to sweep the Smithers, Gauley Bridge, and Scrabble Creek areas, as they assist in a mass debris removal.