A woman is safe after she was rescued from a truck stuck in rising Northern Vermont floodwaters by a Franklin County Sheriff’s corporal and a neighbor.
Cpl. McKenney was the first to respond to a distress call at about 5:30 on Tuesday, reporting a truck stuck on Longley Bridge Road in Montgomery, in far northern Vermont. State Police and Enosburg Rescue workers were also responding, among others, but flood waters and heavy mud made many roads to the scene impassible.
McKenney and a neighbor, Stanley Longley, saw a woman stuck in the truck, and became very worried she would be swept away by the flood.
The pair jumped into action: Longley brought his farm tractor to the edge of the water, and McKenney climbed on. Longley backed the tractor into the water to the truck, and McKenney was able to break a window and pull the woman out. With the help of Enosburg Rescue member Dean Scott, McKenney and the woman got onto the tractor and all were driven to safety by Longley.
The woman was not seriously injured and was transported to Northwest Medical Center for precautionary purposes.
Vermont State Police would like to remind the public the importance of not driving on submerged roadways. The National Weather Service reports each year more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water.
Eric Francis Photo
Hartford Police Officer Sean Fernandes wades down a flooded stretch of Gates Street near the large phone company building in downtown White River Junction late Wednesday night after a thunderstorm flooded
several downtown streets and parking lots.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION – Exactly two years after Tropical Storm Irene inundated sections of White River Junction there was an eerie flashback Wednesday night as a torrential thunderstorm and an accompanying water main break sent several streets under water.
Drivers found themselves up to the bottoms of their car’s doors in water in several spots ranging from Gates Street behind the large telephone company building to the railroad underpass on Maple Street right next to the Hartford Town Hall where two cars that had been headed in opposite directions found themselves stalled about 9:30 p.m.
Supervising the efforts of two tow trucks that had been called in to haul the stranded drivers to safety, Hartford Police Sgt. Connie Kelley said she was nearly caught up by the freak storm herself.
“I came down the hill on Route 5 by the former LISTEN Center/25,000 Gifts building and hit basically like a lake in the road and the water came up over my hood,” Sgt. Kelley recalled.
Eric Francis Photo
A lightning flash reveals a flooded stretch of Gates Street in downtown White River Junction next to the large phone company building late Wednesday night as a tow truck operator talks to Hartford Police
Officer Sean Fernandes.
Crews later determined that a water main had given way near the intersection of Routes 4 and 5 sending a wave of water that actually pushed a television set that had been sitting in front of the former LISTEN building clear down the hill to the intersection in front of the Bugbee Senior Center.
“This is unprecedented,” noted Hotel Coolidge owner David Briggs shortly after 10 p.m. as he waved a flashlight across the completely flooded parking lot behind the Gates Briggs Building. The building houses the Briggs Opera House and several downtown businesses including Revolution and the popular Tuckerbox coffee shop.
For a time much of Currier Street, which runs behind the Hotel Coolidge, was flooded right up to the curbs, as were stretches of nearby Gates Street and Church Street in front of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.
Briggs said the parking lots in the downtown have never flooded like this in previous years but he said this is the second time they’ve done so this summer. “Something has changed,” he said, pointing out that the water in the basements of the downtown block appeared to be coming in from, rather than going out through, the storm drain system.
- Eric Francis | Herald Correspondent
WILLIAMSTOWN — Heavy rain has caused some flash flooding in Williamstown, where 15 to 20 families had evacuated from their homes overnight.
The rain moved over parts of Orange County and surrounding areas early Tuesday. Town Manager Jackie Higgins says several residents experienced major flooding in their basements and near their homes. The water has since receded. Local roads and Routes 64 and 14 have been reopened. But Higgins urged residents to use caution when driving, because there have been some washouts.
By 6 a.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported a flash flood warning had been cancelled for south-central Washington and north-central Orange counties.
More scattered storms were expected Tuesday afternoon.