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UPDATE: Business Owners Coping After Rock Slide Destroys Building

By: Cathleen Moxley, Jeremy Edwards, Andrew Colegrove Email
By: Cathleen Moxley, Jeremy Edwards, Andrew Colegrove Email
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Weather Spells Risk of More Rockslides

KANAWHA COUNTY, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- The severe weather we've had this year means there is a continued threat for more rockslides across the region.

Rockslides and mudslides are a continued aggravation for people across West Virginia, and experts said there is still plenty of time for more.

"The rock has a lot of fractures in it, which water can soak down into," said Marshall University Professor Dr. Ron Martino.

Martino said many factors play a role, including tree roots breaking down rock, water weathering down rocks and creating unstable cliffs and ice breaking layers of rock.

"The warm trend we've had in the last couple of days, plus that shot of water could have caused the ice that had developed to melt in the fractures and might have also built up the water pressure," Martino said.

Experts said the transition from winter to spring is the prime time for mudslides and rockslides, and they said the main reasons are the cold temperatures and all this water.

"It's like driving a wedge through the sandstone. Each freeze-thaw cycle makes a little bit of change, but the cumulative effect over a whole season or two can split a whole boulder off a side of a hill," Martino said.

We've already seen a handful of slides this winter from Madison Creek Road in Logan County to Raleigh County and Cedar Grove.

The United States Geological Survey ranks much of West Virginia as high risk for slides.

"It may just be one last little push,"  Martino said.

He said a slide trigger could range from heavy traffic vibrations to harsh weather conditions. That's why he said it's best to be prepared and keep a close watch on hillsides near you.

He also said if you're concerned about an area near your home or business, you should have an engineer or geologist take a closer look.

The Department of Highways has worked with a quite a few slides this year. We checked in with them to see if they had a watchlist of dangerous areas.

Officials said they do not have a list, but they have handled at least five significant slides this season.

They also said they're concerned with the increasing temperatures and plentiful rainfall.

UPDATE 2/19/14 @ 10 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Rocks continued to fall Wednesday night after a cliff collapsed onto a business near St. Albans.

It happened about 9 a.m. near the corner of MacCorkle Avenue and Route 817.

“We're starting over again. We just opened this shop seven months ago and we're gonna be starting at square one,” Morganne Parsons said.

Parsons says her husband Chad's business, Pins 'N Rods, was just starting to thrive.

On Wednesday morning, a massive rockslide came through the back of the building, pushing several motorcycles right through the front door.

Chad Parsons is no stranger to hardship. A bad motorcycle accident two years ago left him unable to keep his job because he was so seriously injured, later spawning the name of his shop.

"I've got pins and rods in my arms and steel in my jaw.," Chad said. "It just hit me and made sense that would be the name."

Jackie King's 1965 Mustang won't be restored as soon as they'd expected, but Chad insists it'll still look better than ever.

"That's the first thing he was talking about was getting her done, getting her fixed," King said. "With all this devastation, I can't believe that's his first concern."

Rebuilding and restoring are Chad's passions. He's approaching this as yet another challenge to be overcome.

"To be honest I think the lord puts stuff on us to test you to see how you're going to react, what you're going to do," he said.

Wes Anderson owns a business nearby. His shop, Art of Tint, also used to be in the building, but he says he couldn't compete with Mother Nature.

“In '07 we were flooded 14 times just from the natural rain water coming off the hillside,” Anderson said. “We always knew that maybe one day that hillside would fall in, but we never thought it would actually crash the whole building.”

The slide damaged dozens of bikes and several antique cars. Anderson knows this easily could have been him.

“Mixed emotions, you're glad you're out, but you feel sorry for the guys who are still left here trying to do business,” Anderson said.

“It's hard to see it all damaged,” Parsons said. “I feel like a lot of his hard work and everything is crushed, literally.”

The Parsons say they plan to rebuild their business, but for now they’re focusing on the clean-up process.

The building housed two other businesses that were not as heavily damaged.



UPDATE 2/19/14 @ 10:15 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County has condemned a building that was hit by a large mudslide in St. Albans.

The slide happened about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of MacCorkle Avenue and Route 817.

Emergency crews tell WSAZ.com Pins 'N Rod Customs was so badly damaged, the building has been condemned.

Crews say nobody was hurt, but several cars and motorcycles were damaged.

Rocks are still falling from the hillside so emergency crews are not letting anyone near the property to assess the damage.

The owner of Pins 'N Customs tells WSAZ.com he just bought the business seven months ago. He says no one was at the business when it happened.

He says dozens of motorcycles and paperwork were crushed.

The former owner of the shop says runoff has always been issue. He moved because of continuous flooding.

Right now, two eastbound and two westbound lanes of MacCorkle Avenue are closed at the Route 817 intersection.

We have a crew headed to the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 2/19/14 @ 9:41 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A hillside has slid into a business near St. Albans.

It happened about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday near the intersection of MacCorkle Avenue and Route 817.

Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com say Pins 'N Rod Customs has been badly damaged. Everyone in the building was able to get out safely.

WSAZ.com has a crew on the scene and tell us several cars have been damaged as well.

Right now, two eastbound and two westbound lanes of MacCorkle Avenue are closed at the Route 817 intersection.

We have a crew headed to the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this story.


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