Chief: Flooding in Burlington unprecedented
MILWAUKEE — Authorities say nearly everyone in the Racine County community of Burlington is dealing with some type of flood damage.
Police Chief Mark Anderson said flooding in the city of about 10,000 is “massive” and “unprecedented.”
The city’s four bridges over the swollen Fox River remain closed because the waterway is 5 feet above flood stage.
Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties because of widespread flooding. National Guard troops have been sent to the area to help with the recovery.
Because a We Energies substation is submerged in floodwater, thousands of people in the area may not have electricity restored until Friday afternoon.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says roads and highways are closed throughout Racine, Kenosha, Walworth and Waukesha counties.
The Wisconsin National Guard has sent about 100 soldiers to Burlington to help local officials with traffic control, health and welfare checks and sandbagging. The state Department of Corrections is also sending about 20 inmates from the Robert Ellsworth Correctional Center to help with sandbagging.
Members of the Water Rescue Team from the Beloit Fire Department and South Beloit Fire Department were called to help out in Burlington early Thursday morning.
“When you’re there, the biggest thing is just seeing it and the water moving and the amount of force behind water, even when it’s not that deep,” Beloit Fire Acting Lt. Jon Kemmett said. “A lot of people always think that it’s got to be deep water. just inches of water can make a difference that can sweep a vehicle off a road.”
The team was there as a precaution in case anyone became stranded. Luckily, Kemmett said, no one needed to be rescued while they were in Burlington.
“It just feels good to go out and help a neighboring community, especially when a lot of the firefighters and rescuers live in that community,” he said. “They’ve got a lot on their plate. They’re worried about their families, their homes. So if we can come in and relieve a lot of that burden off of them by doing this, it just feels really good to do that.”
Kemmett said the team might go back out to Burlington Friday or Saturday, if they’re needed.
Other water rescue teams from Ozaukee, Milwaukee and Lafayette counties have traveled to Burlington to assist as well.
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