The clean up process begins in Isaac’s aftermath

Published 10:16 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2012

As citizens started to clean up the mess in their homes from Tuesday’s storms, some had to take things out to dry. One home on Old Orrville Road was entirely flooded and the homeowner put their carpet and carpet padding to be taken by the garbage truck. More than 1,500 homes were without power on Mondy night and it is still unreported as to how many homes were damaged by floodwaters. -- Sarah Cook

Although Tuesday’s storms have subsided, damage is still being felt in the area as residents clean up the aftermath.

Rhonda Abott of the Dallas County Emergency Management Service said they are trying to locate residents who have been affected by the storms so damage reports can be submitted to the state.

“At this point we are just assisting in any way we can and just trying to get everything back to normal,” Abott said. “I have not had any injuries reported and we were very fortunate with that.”

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As of Wednesday afternoon, Selma was under no warning in regards to storms or flooding, but Abott advised that residents still use extreme caution when driving, especially at night.

“Creeks are still rising and water could still rise,” Abott said. “Just use extreme caution at all times. Stay away from any flooded roads. Don’t go near the water, it rises quickly and the water could be moving very fast.”

County Roads 178, 4, 403, 412 and 225 have all been closed while County Roads 85 and 428 have reopened.

Abott also said to be careful while driving because just two feet of water can move a vehicle.

Although a large number of residents were affected by the storms, Abott said she was impressed by the amount of people that pitched in to help.

“I will praise all of our responders, everyone that was out rescuing people, they did an excellent job with the amount of calls they were getting,” Abott said. “Everything was handled locally and everyone responded well and quickly.”

Bryan Johnson of the Selma Dallas County Rescue Squad was one such person that exemplified heroism after the storms blew through Selma and the surrounding area.

Johnson recalls a rescue made this morning on U.S. Highway 41, “Sometime this morning between 4 and 5 in the Sardis region we got a call because Highway 41 had water going over it,” Johnson said. “At some point someone was driving down there and couldn’t see the water and got caught up in the water and the car washed off the road.”

The Sardis Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene first, and the victim was able to make it to a nearby tree to get out of her car because she didn’t know how to swim.

“We had to get two of our divers and more rescue folks ,” Johnson said. “We were just able to get over there and get a rope and lifejacket to her to get her out of the tree and out of the water.”

In all his years of service, he said he’s never seen anything like he did on Wednesday morning.

“We’ve responded to some river flooding before, but nothing like this,” Johnson said. “Our legs were tired once we got finished because [the water] was constantly, gradually moving and it was trying to sweep you off your feet. It was moving pretty fast.”

Jim Wooley of Barrett Road said he had never seen anything like this either, and he’s lived in the area for more than 47 years.

“It just came out of nowhere,” Wooley said of the storm. “I’ve gotten water in my garage before, about a quarter of an inch maybe, but nothing like what happened Tuesday.”

Wooley’s neighbor, Robert Love, had extensive damage to his home too and said he had to barricade his doors with mulch bags to ward off the rising water.

“I was just stuffing towels and sheets and blankets and whatever I could to try and keep it out but it came in the back and then it started coming through the front door,” Love said.

It is unreported as to how many residents saw floodwaters come through their homes but, like Love and Wooley, citizens have to now begin the clean up process.

“I knew we might get a little rain but I didn’t know we were going to get part of the hurricane,” Wooley said. “It was something else.”

Staff writer Ashley Johnson also contributed to this article.