Lack of electricity delays Moffett residents
After so many weeks of cleaning and gutting their houses and other structures with no electricity or running water, the residents of Moffett are still uncertain when they will be able to move back into their homes.
After the flood waters rose from the Arkansas River last month which kept the entire town submerged under water for a couple of weeks, residents were not allowed to return to their homes until waters had receded leaving behind devastation in the form of mud and sand and completely washing away or destroying contents they had left inside their homes.
“We thought we had done everything possible to keep this from happening,” Brenda Casey, a resident and an employee of Moffett Public School, said.
“We raised our house from the last time we were flooded and when we were told to evacuate, we locked the doors so nothing got out. Everything was still inside but nothing could be saved. We really didn’t expect the water to get so high.”
Casey and her husband, Robert, live on the main block in the town of Moffett. Their house sits on a foundation of concrete measuring about four feet high. With all the walls and most of the floor which has been removed, the interior resembles a house under construction but with used or aged lumber.
“We have the wiring done. We just need an electrician to come and inspect the work and approve it before we can get our electric back on. It’s been so hard to find an electrician. We’ll pay for one but they’re just unavailable,” Mrs. Casey said.
Her husband said he had one electrician who wanted to volunteer his time to help them but he was licensed in Arkansas and not in Oklahoma.
“They have to be licensed in Oklahoma and they’re hard to get right now,” he said, noting OG&E is the source for the town’s electricity.
Mrs. Casey said the couple has been staying with a relative in Liberty and come to Moffett daily to work on their house.
“You can only do so much without electricity,” she said.
“It’s been getting so hot lately and just to be able to run a fan would be a big help. I think we need fans here anyway to vent the air. That would be so helpful,” she said.
In addition to not having electric, the Caseys said piles of trash which line the streets need to be removed.
“The Cherokee Nation sent some people down and they did a great job. They removed all the trash from here but now it’s beginning to pile up again and it’s been sitting there for awhile now. We don’t know who’s going to be picking it up,” Mrs. Casey said.
Next door to the Caseys, Roger McAffee said he has spent a couple of nights at his home sleeping on his concrete porch.
“I’ve lived here all my life. This is my home. I have no other place to go,” McAffee said.
McAffee said although FEMA has provided some help, the amount of money given is not enough to repair the damages his home suffered from the flood.
“Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate any help. But this is something that is going to take a lot of work and a lot of money. I’m thinking it will take a year or longer to get it to where it will be livable but in the mean time, it’s my home. If I have to sleep on the porch sometimes, I guess I will,” he said.
McAffee said a friend put him in a nearby motel for a few nights so he could rest and take baths and get a good meal.
“Most of us are still in the process of cleaning and trying to get our electric on,” he said. “We need a certified electrician to do the inspection but who has money for that?
“Some have water but electricity is just hard to get right now. It costs a lot to get the wiring done also,” he said.
McAffee praised the Cherokee Nation for picking up the trash also but said the trash piles which are increasing daily have been left on the roadsides for days. An employee for the town said the mayor and other town leaders are working to get the trash removed but it’s been a “slow process.”
“The 8 Days of Hope people did a great job in helping to gut out these houses. All the church groups and agencies who have come here to help are really appreciated. I can’t say enough good things about those people,” McAffee said.
Curt Hencye, a representative for Calvary Relief of Colorado was visiting with the residents he could find to offer assistance.
Hencye said his group will help clean and repair damages. They will also make certain structures are sound and is assisting with getting utilities restored.
“We’re just doing what we can to help. Most of the people here whom I’ve spoken with are trying to get some electricity going,” he said.
Hencye said he is looking for volunteers to help Moffett residents. He can be reached at 941-374-1607.