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‘Not in this lifetime’: Residents stunned as homes flood in their Conway neighborhood

Flood waters flow through homes in Conway’s Sherwood community

David Covington and Maura Walbourne paddle a canoe to their home on Long Ave. on Sunday. The Sherwood Drive area of Conway, S.C., began to look like a lake on Sunday as homes were submerged deeper in flood waters that have set historic records.
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David Covington and Maura Walbourne paddle a canoe to their home on Long Ave. on Sunday. The Sherwood Drive area of Conway, S.C., began to look like a lake on Sunday as homes were submerged deeper in flood waters that have set historic records.

Denise Fulmer posted a sign on her door when flooding started in her Conway neighborhood: “I am not leaving. GO AWAY!”

But just a few days later, Fulmer and her pet rabbit were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Conway Fire Department.

The northern portion of Sherwood Drive in Conway could have been confused for a small lake Sunday morning, except for the tops of white picket fences and half-submerged homes sticking out of the water.

And the water, overflowing from Crabtree Swamp, likely hasn’t reached its peak yet, a Coast Guardsmen said.

Fulmer and her rabbit, Mr. Bun Bun Twister, or “Bunny” for short, were taken out of the quickly flooding neighborhood off of Sherwood Drive in Conway by boats Sunday morning.

Fulmer said she decided to stay in her house to take care of her rabbit — and she didn’t think the water would keep rising.

“This is the first time I’ve been rescued,” she said after Coast Guardsmen out of Miami lifted her from the boat onto dry land. “This is the first time the water’s been this high.”

Tyler Wigner, who said his dad owns Fulmer’s house, went to her house to try to convince her to seek shelter Sunday.

“I said, ‘let’s make an agreement: I’ll take the bunny if you go to shelter,’” Wigner said he told Fulmer. “She’s the last of her family, and she stays there by herself. So we keep in contact.”

Conway officials took Fulmer to a shelter at the Conway Recreation Center. Wigner and his family took in Fulmer’s rabbit.

“It’ll take a while to process,” she said. “I didn’t want to get out. It’s a whole new world.”

Kelly Wagner moved to a house on Busbee Street in May and has been staying in her home during the flooding. She waded into the road Sunday in rain boots to check on neighbors.

Water has reached almost the doorways of her neighbors, but her house is still relatively untouched by water. But Wagner said the water keeps coming.

“We knew (the house) never flooded in Matthew,” she said. “So we thought we could stay here in a flood. That has definitely changed.”

She said she and her husband have five dogs and a cat. They’re keeping an eye on the water in case they have to figure out a way to evacuate too.

“I’m in awe that it rose this fast this morning,” Wagner said. “We’ve just been watching it slowly creep up the road.”

In other parts of the neighborhood, water has crept inside some homes.

David Covington and Maura Walbourne live on Long Avenue near Trinity United Methodist Church with another roommate. Water is more than 2 feet high inside their home.

Walbourne, her sister Katie and Covington paddled up to the house Sunday in a canoe. It was their first time back to the house since water got inside.

“It’s never come inside before,” Walbourne said. “We’ve been lucky.”

Covington said he’s been living on Long Avenue for about five years. Flooding in 2015 and 2016 didn’t make it inside the house.

“They keep saying ‘100-year flood,’ ‘500-year flood,’ ‘1,000-year,’ whatever year it’s on,” he said. “It’s about every other year now. We’re going to hope it doesn’t come back up again.”

Floyd Boyd, wearing a Conway Tigers ball cap and camouflage Crocs, measured the water outside his home on Sherwood Drive on Sunday. He said water was just 6 inches below his door.

He stayed at the house Saturday night, but planned to stay with his daughter Sunday. He’s been in that house since 1995, and he said his daughter “broke down and cried” when she helped him move furniture out before the flood.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Boyd said. “I could cry.”

He said it was hard to sleep Saturday night. Every time he woke up, he checked the floors for water.

“I was here for Matthew and Floyd,” Boyd said. “It never came up like this. Never. Not in this lifetime.”

Boyd said he’s lived in the Conway area all his life. He doesn’t know if the water will get inside his house, but he said he’s already planning to repair the damage.

In Covington’s house on Long Avenue, floorboards were floating in the living room. And they had just repainted the front porch, he said.

But he plans to move back to the house as soon as he can.

“We all grew up here,” Covington said. “So a bunch of friends, family and people we don’t know (are) offering a hand.

“There’s not a single person that hasn’t offered to help yet. It helps make it easier.”

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