Three people died late on the night of July 18 after flash floods carried away a mobile home on Ripley Road in the Stringtown area.
Victoria Kennard, 32, was killed along with 7-year-old Gabriel Barrios and his 5-year-old sister, Rose Barrios, in the flood, according to WCPO. Kennard was also reportedly pregnant.
Kennard’s fiance, Tony Barrios, and two other children survived the incident, the news outlet reported.
Eyewitnesses reported a harrowing scene with the mobile home housing the Barrios’ and Kennard being lifted up by the surging waters from Red Oak Creek and washed down the street.
“Rose was in our pre-k (program) last year and Gabe was going into second grade,” Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Elementary School Principal Aric Fiscis told The News Democrat and Ripley Bee. “They’re two very sweet kids and it’s always a shame to see life lost so young. The family is a tremendous family, hard working, and it’s a tremendous loss for our community and our district.”
In addition to picking up the mobile home off its foundation, the raging waters uplifted everything in its path, including cars, gas and propane tanks, and even pieces of asphalt, which were deposited on the yards of residents along Red Oak Creek, according to witnesses.
“I’ve never seen a storm that took the blacktop off the road,” Ripley resident Sonja Benjamin said. “My yard, all our yards, were full of black top from where the water was so heavy and strong and it pulled the blacktop off the road.”
Volunteers spent the last few days helping clean up debris and mud from people’s homes and yards, according to Ripley Mayor Tom Leonard.
Three to four inches of rain fell Saturday between 10 p.m. and midnight, according to the National Weather Service.
Brandon Peloquin, a meteorologist with the NWS in Wilmington, said there were showers and storms in the area Saturday, the rain picked up between 10 and 11 p.m. and got heavier through midnight.
The NWS issued a flood advisory at 10:50 p.m., “but we’re watching the radar and saw the (rainfall) rates rapidly increase. It was becoming apparent it wasn’t going to be a minor flood. It was going to become a significant and serious flash flood,” Peloquin said. The flash flood warning was issued at 11:23 p.m.
Three to four inches of rain fell between 10 p.m. and midnight, Peloquin said.
“You’ve got to keep in mind, too, that three to four inches is a lot of rainfall in a short amount of time, but it’s falling in an area where you have creeks that are fast to respond to heavy rainfall occurring in a short period of time, and in an area that is already saturated from rain the last few weeks,” Peloqin said.
There were a few showers and storms Sunday, but they weren’t as “prolific” as the night before, he said.
According to Peloquin, a flood warning was in effect most of Sunday because even though the rain had ended, some places didn’t have a chance to significantly recede before a new round of showers and storms moved through Brown County.
The Red Cross is involved with helping residence who are suffering due to the natural disaster.
To receive assistance from the Red Cross, people can call 740-354-3293.
In addition, a fund has been set up for the Kennard family at Merchants Deposit Bank.
Lora Abernathy contributed to this report.