Pearl Woodrum's Fears In Buffalo Creek

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Pearl Woodrum saw her fears realized when the dam burst in 1972. As the residents of Buffalo Creek slept soundly in their beds, they would not be able to envision the horrors that would occur on that dreary February morning. They knew that any time there was a substantial amount of rainfall in Buffalo Creek, the creek would rise and the lack of an early warning system meant they might never know if a heavy rain heralded disaster until it was too late. Residents also knew that the dam was not stable, a fact the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed when it concluded that the dam was “basically stable but could be overtopped and breached.” William Davies was the federal geologist who conducted the study and stated that if the dam broke, “flood and debris would damage a church and two or three houses downstream, cover the road and wash out the railroad.” A heavy rainfall on February 25, 1972 triggered grave concern from many around Buffalo Creek. Jack Kent, the Strip Mine Superintendent became increasingly concerned about the rapidly rising water levels in the dam. On the evening of February 25 he placed a measuring stick in a bank of Dam …show more content…

John Wells was driving near the mouth of Middle Fork when his car was covered in black wastewater. He saw that the valley below the dam was covered in an ominous layer of black waste. Wells tried to warn the residents of Buffalo Creek of the impending disaster but was unable to use the phone due to power outages. He was powerless to warn Buffalo Creek of the impending disaster. The water raged towards Buffalo Creek until the wastewater finally emptied into the Guyandotte River fifteen miles later. Three hours after the wastewater began to race towards Buffalo Creek, there was over $50 million in property damage, at least 1000 injured and 125 people

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