CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Residents were out and about in Charleston on Friday morning stocking up on emergency water supplies in preparation for what could be a long wait for safe tap water.
Traffic backed up in both directions near the South Charleston Recreation Center on Jefferson Street as people rushed to pick up bottled water. The South Charleston Fire Department rationed water to one case per vehicle.
Bobby Cohernour, chief of the South Charleston Fire Department, said about half of the 1,200 cases of water from a tractor trailer had been distributed within an hour.
"We've had a steady stream of people coming through," Cohernour said. "It really hasn't been that bad, it's just been a steady stream of people coming through."
Cohernour said more bottled water was en route to the recreation center, but he didn't know when it would arrive.
Jim Browder, 85, and June Hyer, 84, were able to secure their case of water at the South Charleston Recreation Center, but had trouble finding food because many restaurants served by West Virginia American Water in the Kanawha Valley are shut down.
"It's been tough," Browder said. "We left the house without anything to eat, and we went to Bob Evans to get some hot cakes and Bob Evans was closed, and so was McDonald's, and so was every other place. It's a tough situation, and it could get tougher."
John Bell, 71, a businessman from Charleston, was frustrated as he waited in line for his water ration. He said he was unhappy with the manner in which residents were notified of the contamination, and the problem is affecting his business.