|07-10-03: Rockford residents, helpers fight flood
|By BETTY LAWRENCE
The Daily Standard
ROCKFORD - American Legion members have been working nonstop since
Monday, using pumps to suck out the two feet of water that flooded the building.
"We're holding our own right now and making some progress, as long
as we keep the pumps going," Legion member and volunteer Richard Mittie Sr. of
Rockford said Wednesday afternoon as he helped oversee the three working pumps.
"Tomorrow (Thursday) will be the worst if we get more rain, but if we don't get any
more rain we should be all right."
Behind the Legion is a dike, which was built after flooding in 1992 to
keep the waters of the St. Marys River at bay. Currently, the river is near the top of the
dike where there are several layers of newly placed sandbags, helping keep the fast-moving
muddy water away.
Water damage to the Legion building consists mainly of the flooring,
Mittie said. Much of the equipment was moved out and saved. When it will reopen for
business remains unknown.
Barry's Family Market, located beside the Legion, has fared better and
owner Barry Peel Sr. attributes that to the hard work of the village's fire department and
"The reason I don't have any damage is because of the work of the
fire department. They were here right away and have stayed on top of it. I can't say
enough about that, and they deserve a lot of credit as do all the volunteers," Peel
A weary Rockford Fire Chief, Ralph Rhoades, was conferring with Peel on
Wednesday afternoon and checking a pump that was pulling water from a drain under the
"We started sand-bagging Sunday night across Market Street to slow
the water down, then we started sand-bagging other places and at the store," Rhoades
said, as the sand-bagging continued Wednesday.
Rhoades lauded the many volunteers who showed up to help in Rockford.
"I can't say enough about the number of volunteers who showed up.
Two firemen from Toledo came down right away to help us, and the Chickasaw Fire Department
sent crews. On Sunday night, we had about 150 people helping," he said. "And I
know people say kids today get into a lot of trouble, but the number of kids helping out
has just been something else. You couldn't have asked for a better bunch of kids. They
worked really hard and really helped us out a lot."
Rhoades compared the current flood with the flood of 1992.
"In 1992, the rain came more gradually. This time, we got a lot in
a short time. That made a big difference," he said.
There is water water everywhere in the village, and Village
Administrator Jeff Long reported the flood made it necessary to shut down the village's
wastewater plant several days ago.
Water had risen above the controls at the lift station, he said,
forcing the shutdown.
"We've gone door to door, asking people to limit wastewater
use," he said.
"I've never seen the flooding this bad," he continued.
"We're watching the river and bridge (on Ohio 118) daily. At one point it was within
two feet of the bridge."
Motorists should not worry when crossing the bridge during the
flooding, Long added.
"We had a bridge expert come in and look at it, and he saw no
problems. We feel it is safe."
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