Sussex residents cleaning up after winter flood in N.B.
A massive clean-up is underway in Sussex, N.B. as dumpsters are filled to the brim with the aftermath of Thursday's flood.
“I woke up at about 11 to red lights shining in my window and beating on my door and it was the local fire department telling everyone to evacuate,” said resident Larry Sommerville.
Residents are still in shock from the event.
“This house was considered an island, it was completely surrounded by water,” said Alysen Drury. “We had water come in our basement windows and right now it left a really muddy sooty mess.”
At the worst of it, streets around town resembled a river.
“I watched my garbage cans float down the road,” Drury said.
Somerville said it was like there was another river running through town.
“There were tires, trees, icebergs --everything running by my house,” said Somerville.
A meeting was held in Sussex Monday to assess how to better respond should this happen again.
“We were at a point where we were knocking on doors when perhaps we should've been using a boat,” said Sussex Chief Administrative Officer Scott Hatcher.
Dawn-Marie Pattinger has been hit by three flooding incidents since she moved in a year ago. Her basement significantly damaged and she's fed up.
“We got about three to four feet of water in our basement,” Pattinger said. “We lost freezers full of food, boxes of stuff, pictures, basically things we can't replace.”
The town says they're tracking data to better predict future floods.
“We put electronic monitoring devices in the river so that we can better respond,” Hatcher said.
Residents say not only has the flood been a major inconvenience, but now that the streets and their driveways are completely frozen, it's also become a safety hazard.
The ice has completely taken over some residents' backyards closest to the river as ice chunks the size of a small child have formed.
Piles of garbage are stacked around town and restless residents are coping with the aftermath.
“It's a mess -- a mess,” Pattinger said. “I've been down there all day and I've got maybe one corner done.”
Twelve people are still under the care of the Red Cross. That number has declined from 38 and those who have returned home are picking up the pieces.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.