Pickens Co. businesses, homeowners work to recover after severe storm


PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. – Several Pickens County residents are working to restore their homes after Thursday’s storm wiped out many areas.

Due to the amount of rain and widespread flooding, Pickens County leaders declared a state of emergency. However, that was lifted on Friday afternoon.

Emergency management staff said they previously made the declaration so that it would allow them to more easily take advantage of statewide resources.

Crews said they responded to several stranded drivers, as well as many flooded homes and businesses.

Emergency management leaders said roads, bridges and culverts were also an issue.

Pierce Womack, Pickens County’s Deputy Director of Emergency Management, said they had to bring in resources outside of the county to assist them.

He said over 60 roads were closed on Thursday, but as of Friday–only 17 of those were still closed.

The manager of a flea market said the strong system left their property in complete devastation.

“It’s kind of unbelievable to see it. It just looks like a war zone hit. All of the tables are gone. Half of their building is down,” said Raechell Owens, Manager of Bargain Exchange Flea Market.

Emergency crews also said they saw higher-than-normal water levels at the Saluda River.

One Pickens County woman’s front yard still looked like a pond on Friday afternoon.

Jade Bennett lives on Quail Haven Drive. She said it only took about 30 to 45 minutes before water rushed inside her home and completely covered everything.

Bennett said her family instantly tried to stop water from coming in, but nothing they did could help save their most valued items. The family lost things like clothes, furniture, and much more.

“It’s unlivable. It’s nasty in there. I mean it was 18 inches and now it just looks like mud,” Bennett said.

Bennett said her family is now displaced. She’s living across the street with her roommate and their neighbor. Her children are now staying with other friends.

Although the community has stepped in to help, the family said they hope something can be done to repair the home that is at total lost.

“This is scary to me. I’ve worked really hard. I’ve worked really hard to get this house where it is, and I want it back. I don’t want to live somewhere else. I want to live here,” Bennett said.

One Easley High School teacher said she and other school members will try to help the family as much as possible.

Pickens County Emergency Management leaders said they will continue recovery efforts, however, it could be weeks before things are back to normal.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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