Cleanup Continues In Coffeyville

Sunday, July 8th 2007, 4:51 pm
By: News On 6

One week after the Verdigris River flooded, the cleanup continues in Coffeyville, Kansas. Officials say displaced residents will be allowed to return to their homes later this week to salvage their belongings. Coffeyville city officials say they've made a significant amount of progress in the past week. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports they say they will focus on the health and safety of residents during the continuing recovery effort, and stress that they still have a lot of work ahead of them.

Kansas National Guard members remained posted in areas that were underwater one week ago. The Guardsmen are there to ensure that no one enters those neighborhoods. Some people became sick after returning to their homes earlier in the week.

The cleanup also continues on the sludge left over from the spilled crude oil. Meanwhile, dozens of displaced residents have now called a Red Cross shelter home for a week.

Some say there's no point in returning, while others look forward to being allowed back into their neighborhood.

"I'd like to go back and see if I can salvage an American flag that has sentimental values and my mother's cedar chest,” said Coffeyville resident Catherine Murray.

"There's no salvage. Everything is contaminated, there's sludge all over,” said Coffeyville resident Thomas Page. “The best they can do is buy it out, pay for people's property and bulldoze place down."

During an afternoon press conference, city officials outlined their plans for week two of the cleanup.

"There's a serious effort taking place right now on recovery stages and with emphasis on health and safety of public,” said Coffeyville Mayor Virgil Horn.

While not being allowed back into their neighborhoods just yet, the mayor says residents will be able to take a bus tour of the affected areas Monday morning.

Search teams will also inspect all 360 flooded homes and 70 flooded businesses over the next few days.

While the road to recovery will be long, the city says everyone is committed to bringing Coffeyville back.

"I am seriously grateful for all the various agencies and city staff and all who have taken place in trying to turn a midnight back to day,” said Mayor Horn.

Anyone interested in taking that bus tour must first register with the American Red Cross by calling 620-251-1050.

Officials expect building searches to be completed by Wednesday. If their homes are deemed safe, residents will then be allowed back in to salvage what they can.

Watch the video: Cleanup Continues In Coffeyville

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.