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'No way to get out': Families in 7 homes are stranded after Isaias destroys road

WJLA – Washington D.C. logo WJLA – Washington D.C. 8/6/2020 Kristen Powers, Brad Bell (ABC7)
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About 15 people are essentially stranded in their homes, after the only road that leads out collapsed in Tuesday's storms.

According to the Calvert County Sheriff's Office, there are families in seven homes on Hunting Farms Lane in Huntingtown, MD that have no way out.

There is a similar situation on Ox Court Road.

"It's pretty crazy as you can imagine," Earle Kirkley, one of the people who lives in the homes on Hunting Farms Lane, said. "We've been without power and no way to get out."

a person holding a sign © Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.
Caption: Hurricane Isaias destroyed the only road that leads out of a community of seven homes in Huntingtown, Maryland on August 4, 2020. Resident Earl Kirkley says everyone is okay but that an elderly community member is alone after his wife died of cancer last year.

Kirkley said the road collapsed Monday by around 9 a.m. He said trees took town the power line and water started to build up.

Kirkley said everyone is okay and no one was injured when the road collapsed.

"There is no damage to the houses, but we do have an elderly neighbor who's lived back here for probably 35-40 years. He recently lost his wife to cancer and she was his caretaker." Kirkley said.

Kirkley said this man now has in-home care, and neighbors want to make sure there is access to the homes so he can get the care they need. He said safety and getting emergency responders to the homes if needed is a concern.

He also said most people in the area own farm animals, and without power to maintain the wells, this could become a big issue. 

a sign on the side of a road © Provided by WJLA – Washington D.C.
Caption: WJLA

Hunting Farms Lane is a private road. Kirkley said the neighbors take care of the road themselves and usually it's not a problem.

"But I've never had a canyon form in the road either!" Kirkley said.

He said initial estimates he got for repairs were between $75,000 and $150,000. Kirkley said that's beyond what the families could split.

"We are really at a loss," he said.

Kirkley said they are first hoping to get power back on. People on that road also talking with county leaders to figure out a temporary fix. Kirkley said the county has been responsive. 

"There is not a lot the county can do financially because it's a private road," he said. Kirkley said right now they are basically reaching out to anyone who may be able to help. 

For now, they've set up ropes and have a small boat where people on the other side of the broken road are able to send over things like groceries and medical supplies.

Earle Kirkley and the other six families and residents who live along Hunting Farm Lane are cut off from the outside world. Their lane ending at a chasm. 

“We jokingly call this our snake river canyon jump spot,” says Kirkley as he looks across the divide.

The heavy rains from Isaias caused such a flood that what is normally a little stream became a torrent, washing away the road. The only way in or out is now gone. 

Kirkley says, “We have about 15 people back there everything from elderly to families with small children. We’re in a tight position we don’t really have a good answer right now.”

Isaias raced across southern Maryland yesterday and while the damage could have been far worse it is substantial. Rt. 381 remains closed at the Prince George’s County line. The bridge over Swanson Creek is badly damaged. For people like Mary Dixon, it means a 20-minute detour. 

“You have to go around miles to get back to where you were at,” says Dixon.

In St. Mary’s County, businesses along Thompson’s Corner Rd in Mechanicsville are mopping up from a flood they blame on a collapsed state highway administration drain. 

Plumber and HVAC business owner John Fluhart took a break from cleaning up to say, “It was bad. Water was in here 14-16 inches deep. I lost pretty much every tool I own.”

Back on Hunting Farms Ln, Earle Kirkley says the estimated cost of repairs to his private lane is way beyond what he and his neighbors can afford. He’s hoping for some help from the Calvert County. 

“2020 is just continuing to rage on,” Kirkley says adding, “and I don’t dare ask what’s next because I don’t want to see it.”

Kirkley and his wife, Robin, started a GoFundMe page to help cover some of the road repair costs. 

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