Families living along Rockcastle River assess damages from flood


LIVINGSTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Families that live along Rockcastle River returned to their homes for the first time Tuesday.

Many of them having to be evacuated Sunday night as the river quickly filled up homes and made the roads impassable.

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Larry Davidson with Livingston Fire Rescue says it’s the most flooding the county has ever recorded.

“The damages are catastrophic,” he said.

Paulina Jackson has lived along Rockcastle River for 15 years.

“I’m devastated, I’m truly devastated,” Jackson said. “I feel like that everything that I’ve tried to do for my children is gone.”

Her neighbor and friend Susan Jones says she’s feeling at a loss too.

“Seriously I can’t believe this is happening, it feels like a bad dream,” Jones said.

Both have lost nearly everything inside the house.

“I finally got to go in a while ago and I just stood there and cried,” Jackson said.

Jones just packed up and moved here to start a campground a few months ago. So the flooding destroyed her business too.

“I just think about how much I sacrificed to save up and buy woodworking tools, it’s hard, it’s hard,” Jones said.

Jackson and her family helped rescued Jones Sunday night in a kayak after they themselves had to leave their home.

Fireman Larry Davidson says Jones wasn’t the only one to read the rain and flooding warnings wrong.

“Again, this is record, right, so it was a learning curve for everybody,” Davidson said.

He says the river fluctuates in extremes.

“The rockcastle rises quick and lowers quick,” he said.

“As a mother you try to build up and have good things for your children and it’s just took away,” Jackson said.

But they’re not alone, the whole community helping each other through.

“It’s one big family down here on the river,” Davidson said.

As for rebuilding, it could take months, if not years.

“And then you ask yourself what now,” Jackson said.


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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com