Leader Blues

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TOP STORY >> Family saves elderly woman in flood, starts rebuilding life

The family of Bertha Figley managed to get her out of a flooded mobile home.

By ALIYA FELDMAN
Leader editor

Even more admirable than her family’s rescue of Bertha Figley, 84, from her trailer when it was surrounded by floodwaters is their humility after having lost so much early in the morning on Oct. 30.

Figley has stayed with her son, Glenn, and his wife, Adylyn, in a motel since their trailer also flooded during the relentless downpour.

Adylyn said their losses don’t seem like a lot compared to her mother-in-law’s.

“She lost everything,” Adylyn said.

Four to five feet of water covered Bertha’s trailer in Hillside Bayou Mobile Home Park on Old Tom Box Road in Macon.

“It’s been kind of like a nightmare,” she said.

Glenn brought his mother from Little Rock to live near him in the trailer park about a year ago.

He gave her his trailer to live in and he and Adylyn bought a new one. Bertha’s trailer was full of furniture that is now ruined, including a 100-year-old antique bed, an armoire, clothing, a china cabinet, a television, pots and pans.

“Her refrigerator slid into the water and was on its back,” Adylyn said.

The couple lived in the park for nine years and never expected this kind of flooding would be possible there. They bought a new trailer just 15 months ago.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do,” Adylyn said. “We’re shocked.”

This was the third or fourth flood at the park, but the first time water went into the trailers.

“It’s the first time it flooded in the house…Even with (Hurricane) Gustav it didn’t come into the house,” she said.

Now the carpet in the couple’s home is wet and the hardwood floors are buckled.

They haven’t turned the power back on yet in their trailer even though it’s been restored in the park.

Water came through the vents and the walls and they fear turning the power on could cause more damage.

“At 9:30 or 10 Thursday night, she called and said she was fine,” Adylyn said. But her mother-in-law called back in the middle of the night to tell the couple they needed to come get her.

“When we got (to her), the water was almost at the back door,” she said.

“When we got back to our trailer, it had risen more (there).” They were evacuated with other residents of the trailer park by the fire department at about 8 a.m. Friday.

“You see it on TV but you don’t expect it to happen to you,” she said, remembering scenes from Hurricane Katrina. The couple left without being able to collect any of their belongings except Glenn’s medications.

The couple’s church, Cornerstone Assembly in Ward, paid for them to stay at the Best Western in Jacksonville for three nights.

Members of Bertha’s church, First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge, helped clean out her trailer.

The family has found another trailer that they will rent, near the ones that flooded, where all three will live. They are waiting for an insurance inspector to record the damage at their new trailer. They aren’t sure what will be covered. Bertha’s trailer wasn’t covered by flood insurance. Adylyn said she thinks both trailers are worth about $75,000 together.

“We’re hanging in there, waiting on the Lord,” she said.

The couple says they would rather not receive donations to help them get back on their feet. They would like to see the Red Cross receive help.

The Red Cross helped other families who had to be evacuated from Hillside Bayou Mobile Home Park but had nowhere to go.