Family Swept Away Ohio
Published: July 21, 2015
Family Swept Away Ohio, A mother pregnant with her fifth child and two of her children were killed after a torrential downpour in Brown County swept away their mobile home late Saturday.
The victims were part of a family of six, who was huddling for safety in the mobile home when Red Oak Creek flooded and swept the home away at about 11 p.m. The double-wide mobile home was just a few yards from the creek in Ripley, about an hour southeast of Cincinnati.
The family’s father and two other sons survived, and they were rescued two hours after the home was swept away. One of the sons was found in a tree and taken to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Owens said.
The flooding resulted from a downpour that drenched Brown County in an accumulated 4 inches of rain in a short span of time. Cincinnati has accumulated 3.78 inches of rain in July, according to the National Weather Service.
Residents of Ripley, a village of about 1,750 people 50 miles from Cincinnati, said the force of Saturday and Sunday’s flash flood was worse than the flood that swept through the area in 1997.
Jeff Downing confirmed to The Enquirer that his neighbor and half-sister, Victoria Kennerd, was the woman killed. Her son and daughter were also killed.
Downing said his sister was engaged to be married to Marco Barrios, a construction worker, and she stayed home to raise their growing family. They had three children together, and Kennerd had one from a previous marriage.
“They were really good parents,” Downing said. “They were just trying to make it like everybody else.”
Crews searched the water banks and surrounding area for the family overnight. The body of the girl – about 5 years old – was found about 9 a.m. Sunday, said Art Owens, Georgetown Village Administrator.
Downing and his sister both lived on land their parents settled on in 1987. His smaller mobile home was pushed into a neighboring house by the flood, but he was not at home during the peak of the water’s force late Saturday night.
Eyewitnesses said the mobile home split in half as it was pulled down Red Oak Creek and fractured into smaller pieces as it was swept through trees lining the creek.
“Basically they were swept downstream,” Owens said Sunday.
Neighbors Wade and Sharon Linville were trapped in their house across the street for about an hour as the flood waters rose and covered their driveway.
“It was up in an instant,” Wade Linville said. “There was nothing they could do.”
“Thank God we were up high enough,” Sharon Linville added.
The Linvilles own a rental property in the area and said one of their tenants retreated to his roof.
“They were signaling for help with a flashlight from their roof,” Wade Linville said.
They said they called the police, but there wasn’t a way for emergency crews to reach them.
During the search, the American Red Cross was at the scene with the Ripley and Georgetown Fire Departments and crews from neighboring communities. Sunday afternoon, Downing and Kennerd’s family and friends searched for pictures and other mementos where the home used to sit.
“We periodically get flash flooding and get water into homes and stuff but nothing of this magnitude,” Owens said.
Showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue throughout southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Indiana. The Tristate region is under a flash flood watch until midnight.
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