The Jenkins Family

Support pours in for Buckhannon natives who lost their Parkersburg-area home in a landslide

WASHINGTON, W.Va. – A family from Buckhannon that relocated to Wood County lost their home in a landslide Sunday – a catastrophic event their homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover.

However, Upshur County residents and other friends and family have rallied around Buckhannon natives, Scott and Elaine Jenkins, uniting to raise over $11,000 to help them get back on their feet.

The Jenkins Family lost their home and most of their possessions when a landslide destroyed their current home in Washington, W.Va., in the Parkersburg area. Scott Jenkins said they had been dealing with a hill shifting behind their Wood County home for some time, and they had been working with a contractor to deal with the shift in the land.

He said the wet winter and constant rain they have had in Washington W.Va. made the situation worse.

“On Saturday, it started raining hard, and it has been raining a lot,” Jenkins said. “The guy who’s been doing the work had been digging as it was shifting, and he kept digging to create space between the land shift and our deck and it had been moving at a tortoise pace.”

He said on Sunday he and his family decided to order carryout from a restaurant, so he went to pick up the food and go to the grocery store.

“It’s probably an hour-and-a-half, and I get back. Brendan and Elaine are frantic, and Brendan greets me at door and says the house is cracking,” Jenkins recalled. “I walked in from our garage, into our family room, and from our family room, there’s like a little archway where you walk into our dining room, and right above that, there was a big crack about a half-an-inch to an inch.”

He immediately went to check on the deck, and it had already begun to shift.

“The two posts closest to the house shifted and literally were pushing into the house to the point it pushed an indentation in the siding, like three or four inches,” Jenkins said, “so, I frantically ran out to the garage to grab my reciprocating saw, grabbed the extension cord and it’s pouring rain but at this point I’m not really concerned about getting electrocuted because I’m trying to do something to save my home and I tried to cut the post or railing.”

He said he also called the fire department and contractor they had working on the property.

“He showed up, grabs chainsaw off the back of his truck, comes around the deck where I wasn’t able to get through completely,” Jenkins said. “I tried to kick it, I tried everything in my power, just to break through thinking it would help reduce the time aspect of the damage it was causing my house.”

He said almost two hours later, his house had moved six to eight inches off the foundation.

“I learned that the big insurance companies don’t cover act of God or act of nature regarding mudslides nor do they cover earthquakes,” Jenkins said. “We’re obviously devastated because of our home, but as a husband and a father I have to set emotion aside and do what is best for my family, and I’m trying to bring back some sense of normalcy, but to be quite honest I’m not sure how that happens.”

“It’s not an overnight process,” he added.

The family has a Go Fund Me page set up by an old neighbor, Kim Monterosso, that at the time of writing has raised $11,674 with the help of more than 150 donors. The initial goal was $10,000 to help replace necessities and help pay for a place to stay while the family sorts through their options and gets back on their feet.

“I don’t share stories looking for sympathy and handouts. I didn’t even know about the GoFundMe page until after it was set up, but I guess I would have to say that I’m touched and I am just so grateful to everyone,” Jenkins said. “I also hope that by sharing my story that it lets people know that this can happen to them and that insurance will not cover it.”

Although the page has surpassed its goal, you may still donate by clicking here or if you’d like to help in some other way, contact Monterosso directly at 304-210-2600.

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