FMU students, faculty endure 1,000-year flood


Photo by: Contributing Photo

Hurricane Juaquin causes flooding across the state of South Carolina. Unity Free Will Baptist Church in Bishopville is one of the many buildings affected by the flooding.

Classes at FMU were cancelled on Oct. 5 and 6 as a result of state wide flooding that damaged roads and bridges.

For five days, South Carolina experienced the one in 1,000-year rain causing flooding and a state of emergency.

As a result of this weather system, some FMU students were forced to evacuate homes and take extended routes to the university.

Junior nursing major Tori Peltzman, a resident of Irmo, S.C., had four inches of floodwater enter her recently remodeled house, destroying the majority of her personal belongings.

“Although it was only four inches, we had to rip out all the hardwood floor and the drywall up to four feet,” Peltzman said. “We had recently redone parts of the house, so a lot of valuable pictures and various items were in boxes in the garage, and those were ruined.”

During the flood, Peltzman’s pipes backed up, filling her bathrooms with sewage waste. She was on campus away from her family during the flood.

Currently Peltzman’s house is uninhabitable and family friends are housing her family until flood damages can be recovered.

Other students were also affected when the flood occurred. Summer Bradham, junior professional writing major, was trapped in Summerton, S.C., near the Santee Lakes. The only bridge connecting Bradham to the university collapsed in the rain.

“The rain stopped on Monday, and it took them six days to repair the roads,” Bradham said.

According to Bradham, her professors understood the situation.

“They understood there was nothing I could do,” Bradham said. “They just wanted me to be safe.”

In addition to students not having a way back to campus, some students left FMU to help in the midst of the rain and flooding.

Specialist Ian McCarley, an FMU ROTC student, went home to visit his family for the weekend when he received a phone call from the National Guard activating him into service. When he left, he was only supposed to be gone for 72 hours. After the damage of the flooding continued to grow, McCarley stayed active for 12 days.

McCarley travelled to Claredon and Richland Counties while being housed at Fort Jackson during his work with disaster relief.

“I am surprised how resilient everyone is,” McCarley said. “People are already rebuilding, and everybody is in good spirits. I have been in areas that were 10 to 12 feet underwater, and everybody has a smile on their face and is working hard.”

During his service, McCarley helped pass out water, give out food, rescue people from their houses and vehicles and control traffic.

McCarley’s professors have allowed him the chance to catch up assignments and lectures he missed.

Four students on campus had flood damage to their apartments.

According to Cheryl Tuttle, the Director of the Housing Office, two students were relocated due to ground water seeping into their apartment from floodwater rising on campus and the other two students were relocated due to leaks in their apartments.

All four students lived in the Village apartments.

According to Andrew Golden, there were no deaths reported in Florence County from the flooding, but there were vital roads to FMU closed such as Old Wallace Gregg Road, Francis Marion Road and Old River Road.

According to Nikki Haley’s press release on October 6, statewide there were 17 deaths as a result of the flooding, 14 dam failures, 1,200 rescues, 409 road closures and 148 bridge closures.

For more information on recovery efforts and road closures, visit www.fcemd. org or