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Posted October 31, 2012 | comments 11 Comments

Superstorm Sandy: Struggling to regain normalcy

Flooded Woodstock trailer park cleans up

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK -- Floodwater still surrounded a couple of homes Wednesday in a Shenandoah County trailer park that was evacuated Monday during superstorm Sandy.

Most residents of the Woodstock Trailer Court off U.S. 11 returned by Wednesday to clean up debris, children's toys and other items tossed around by the flooding.

But when J.R. Pitcock came back to his trailer to assess the damage, he said it appeared someone had ransacked his home and stole several hundred dollars in cash.

"Somebody looted my trailer while we were flooded out of here last night," Pitcock said.

With part of the trailer still underwater, Pitcock and his wife, Stacy, had to stay another night in a nearby hotel. Flooding damaged the wooden steps leading into the Pitcock's trailer and a tank lay on its side in the water. Pitcock noted that he has a daughter with cerebral palsy who needs to be carried, but the water and broken steps prevents that.

"I literally had three inches of water in my living room," Pitcock recalled. "Which it's down now, the floor is soaked. But there's no way we can get back in it tonight."

When Pitcock returned home he said it appeared someone used a tool to pry open the front door. A bed mattress had been flipped on its end, Pitcock said. He had kept the money under the mattress.

A deputy with the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office later responded to the residence and spoke with Pitcock. Major Scott Proctor, of the sheriff's office, said the incident is under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the agency.

The Virginia Army National Guard evacuated the trailer park Monday night as Sandy pushed ashore. Shenandoah County emergency officials opened a shelter at Peter Muehlenburg Middle School.

"We got pretty lucky, I guess," said Elaine Rosengrant, a longtime resident of the trailer park. "We've had water before ... The water's come up but it's went right back down. It's never been like this."

Bob Claytor, president of H.N. Funkhouser, said by phone Wednesday he and the property manager visited the site and most of the water had subsided. Claytor said flooding likely was caused by a nearby stream that overflows and water crosses U.S. 11 on to the property.

"It only really affected two trailers and only one trailer did the water actually get inside the trailer," Claytor said. "They do set up fairly high off the ground and I've owned the park since 1979 and this is the first time this has ever happened.

"So the good news is only one trailer was impacted and it's drying out right now and I think the people will be able to move back into it [Thursday]," Claytor added. "All the rest of the trailers are fine."

Rosengrant was one of several people who could not return home Tuesday and had to stay in a hotel with help from the American Red Cross. Rosengrant said her sister would be staying another night in a hotel because her trailer was still partially underwater.

Flooding spread as far as some of the trailers closer to U.S. 11 and photographs taken by residents Tuesday showed water reaching to wooden decks and skirting.

The community's basketball court lay under approximately 8 feet of water. Some residents feared the flooded court posed a danger to the children in the community.

Flooding, especially when water flows into a home, can lead to damage, mildew and mold. But as resident Sheena Williams noted, her trailer and some others had mold problems prior to the storm. Williams commented that water from flooding likely wouldn't exacerbate the situation.

Rosengrant said her trailer weathered the storm and flooding well. Her shed remained in place, but other loose items floated around as water rose.

Water didn't appear to have damaged all the trailers.

"Thank God no water got into my place," said Williams, who returned home Tuesday as the flooding receded.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com


    What I don't understand is that Fravel's trailer park had to close down due to the new laws on septic systems but yet, this trailer park is still open. FYI, this trailer park has only 1 septic tank that all of them trailers run into. Yet another example of the good ol boy system where they can make the laws but don't have to abide by them.

    Deputies shouldn't have to look far to find a half dozen suspects..

    Keep your money in the bank where it is safe, especially when you have children, and you live in a trailor park that is known to flood, and they are calling for a huge storm. Come on!

    I have had the misfortune of working on several trailers in this park, and have seen firsthand the mold/mildew problems (back in the spring, one resident's child developed sores from exposure to black mold). The septic system is a joke-pipes from some of the trailers just sit on pipes leading into the ground but are not joined. When a backup occurs in the line (happens frequently), raw sewage overflows into the resident's yards-where kids play, ect. The holding tanks for the septic are right behind 94 Wood Park Lane, and I imagine all the flood water was contaminated with raw sewage (the liquid tank gets pumped to Toms Brook, but the solid tank has to be emptied).

    definately alot of infiltration on these septic systems. Probably some red alarm lights on some of these alternative septic treatment units.

    I have a hard time figuring out why the trailer park or Gail's general store...so close to town are not on town sewer system. Does the holtzam place or Moose lodge near by have a septic system or on town Sewer?

    Gail's cigarttte place being on the northern end of town!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mr. Pitcock, we should have put some Musk Rat traps under your matress while you were gone...with your cash stash.

    I am a member of the Virginia army national guard. I met Mr. Pitcock the night of the storm as we went door to door offering rides to the shelter. Mr. Pitcock was concerned about a puppy they have would not be able to go to the shelter, I told him the hotel we were staying at allowed pets. We left there and went on another evacuation mission, and when we returned back to the hotel at 2:30 am Mr Pitcock was waiting on us to return. He had gotten 3 dozen of donuts for us. Just wanted to let everyone know were Mr. Pitcock heart is. Sorry for your misfortune .

    Does anyone know where I can take things to donate to this family or other families in need? I have girls clothing size 4t mostly, some toys, a coat etc. that my daughter has outgrown. I'd love to give these things to someone that needs them instead of to the Goodwill where they have to purchase them.

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