“The creek has never run like this.”
Those were the words on Sunday afternoon of one Ripley resident in the aftermath of a stormy Saturday night that left a path of damage just outside the village and tragically took the lives of a young, pregnant mother and two of her children.
Victoria Kennard, 32, of Ripley, who was six months pregnant, and two of her children, seven-year old Gabriel Barrios and his five-year old sister Rose, were found dead after the raging waters of Red Oak Creek lifted their mobile home off its foundation after a late-night storm that reportedly poured nearly four inches of rain in the Ripley area.
The children’s father and Victoria’s fiance, 47-year old Tony Barrios, and two older children survived the accident. Witnesses described a chilling, dark scene on the creek as neighbors could hear the cries for help. The family had taken refuge in the bathroom of the mobile home before they were separated by the rising creek waters.
When the creek rapidly overflowed its banks, it became like a scene from a Hollywood special effects stage. Barrels and propane tanks were fired down the road like being shot out of a cannon, and unbelievably the asphalt was pulled up off of the surface of Old Ripley Road in the Stringtown area and deposited in the yards of residents there.
Many other homes along the road suffered serious water damage, with estimates from up to a few inches to a few feet of water inundating their residences and forcing many to evacuate.
Numerous rescue units were on site to assist in the water rescues and with the needs of any of the displaced residents.