A mudslide destroyed a south Johnson City apartment building Saturday after the latest in a series of heavy thunderstorms struck the region.
The Old Mountaineer Apartments, formerly a local market at 3206 S. Roan St. in Carter County, collapsed with residents still inside.
“It was raining really hard and thundering and lightning,” resident Lois Honeycutt said, adding that a neighbor alerted her to the situation outside. “I looked outside, and it was about a foot from the driveway.”
Mud was washing down the ridge from behind the building. Her fiancé and another neighbor went into another apartment to get another look and soon realized they needed to evacuate.
“They said they were getting out of Randy’s apartment,” Honeycutt said. “They looked and it was moving slowly. They had to get a lawn chair to get me out of the apartment, it fell.”
The mudslide moved the entire structure from its foundation, and the building collapsed.
“If I had stayed in there maybe another 30 minutes they would have been digging me out,” Honeycutt said.
Honeycutt and other residents were not allowed to return the building to retrieve their belongings. They were awaiting assistance from the American Red Cross.
The Carter County Sheriff’s Office, West Carter County Volunteer Fire Department, Elizabethton Fire Department and Johnson City Fire Department and other agencies were on hand.