KS town begins flood cleanup

BY SUSAN KIM | Fort Scott, KA | October 17, 1998


The Beacon, where many of those affected by floods would usually seek assistance, found itself in five feet

of water with practically all of its materials destroyed, said the Rev. David Watson of Fort Scott First United

Methodist Church, where The Beacon has established temporary offices. "We're trying to help them out

until they can get back on their feet," Watson said.

Kansas Gov. Bill Graves declared a state of emergency after storms dumped 12.5 inches of rain on Fort

Scott, forcing the river out of its banks in this southeastern Kansas town of 8,300 located five miles from

the Missouri border.

A Kansas National Guard unit was deployed to Fort Scott through Tuesday.

Part of the community for more than a decade, The Beacon provided clothes, food and other goods to Fort

Scott families in need. Organization representatives spent Tuesday salvaging what they could.

The flooding forced 21 families from their homes on Sunday, about half of those from a mobile home park

on the city's north side. When the waters subsided, at least one house was destroyed, and another dozen

sustained major damage, said Bob Fairbank, a local American Red Cross job director.

Flood damage to homes and businesses in Fort Scott are expected to exceed $1 million according to Jim

Harris, the Bourbon County public works director. The county sustained more than $250,000 damage,

primarily to county roads.

Red Cross set up a relief unit at the Community Christian Church. Five people who needed shelter were

taken to local motels, and a food unit closed Wednesday, Fairbank said, adding that most of those flooded

out have returned home or are staying with family members.


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