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W. Virginia mobilizes Guard to help residents after flood

Flooding in Gilbert Creek, W.Va., damaged hundreds of structures, including mobile homes, and closed roads. Flooding in Gilbert Creek, W.Va., damaged hundreds of structures, including mobile homes, and closed roads. (Jeff Gentner/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / May 11, 2009
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GILBERT, W. Va. - The National Guard is helping residents in West Virginia's coalfields recover from weekend flooding that destroyed at least 300 buildings, knocked out power, and caused mudslides.

Governor Joe Machin activated 300 troops yesterday on top of the 30 he called up a day before when he declared a state of emergency for five counties, said a spokesman for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Emergency crews, residents, and business owners assessed the damage in Gilbert and used shovels to clean up after downpours dumped several inches of rain on Friday and Saturday. On the road leading to the town of about 400 people, a mobile home broke loose Saturday and floated a quarter-mile before it was split in half by a tree.

"I will never feel safe here again anytime it rains," said resident Jo Johnson.

No injuries were reported, and seven trapped miners were able to walk out of the Mountaineer Alma mine near Wharncliffe yesterday morning.