Washed out

Katherine Hudson
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Hampden loses road, water, power and property in deluge

At around 10 o'clock Tuesday morning, Bev Rice said she saw Hampden's main road let go under the strain of the "mountains of water" that roared down the hilly slope toward the bay.

What usually was a trickling brook transformed into a deluge in a matter of moments as water became too much for a clogged culvert to hold and it all came crashing down.

Hampden -

At around 10 o'clock Tuesday morning, Bev Rice said she saw Hampden's main road let go under the strain of the "mountains of water" that roared down the hilly slope toward the bay.

What usually was a trickling brook transformed into a deluge in a matter of moments as water became too much for a clogged culvert to hold and it all came crashing down.

"When the road let go, there were big sheets of pavement ... When it came through, it was just like Niagara Falls there was that much power," Rice said.

Much of the White Bay area experienced heavy rains Monday evening into Tuesday, according to Environment Canada.

A shed and a greenhouse owned by Shirley and Wesley Parsons were snatched away and swept out to sea, seemingly intact.

"If them two sheds hadn't been there, I would have lost my house. When the force of water hit the sheds, it took the force away from the house. I'd have lost my home only for that. I've been here now 36 years. That's the first time it's ever happened," said Wesley, who had just returned home from major surgery in St. John's about a week ago.

Neighbours came and removed the couple from their ocean-side home, figuring the house was next to go.

"All good neighbours, lots of good neighbours ... It's safe now unless (the water) backs up tonight. The water is almost to our furnace, but the men got it down. It burst open the basement door with the force of the water," Shirley said. "We felt bad but then I told him, the house is there and we're here."

Wesley said he thinks they have lost $15,000 worth of property.

Lindsay Warren, a neighbour who was helping the couple empty their basement of water Tuesday afternoon, said there was about 50 feet of water backed up to the culvert.

"It all bust out. She all went, the pavement went, the light pole bust," Warren said. "The culvert was blocked solid with dirt and she all let go and it broke. ... If the sheds weren't there this house would have been right out there with the sheds.

"There's no power. All the lines are down. No sewage, no nothing here now. All the wires are all down and everything," he said. "The main waterline used to go up the road up there. That's all gone out."

Hampden Mayor Jerry Martin said the town's main priority is to get the power and water up and running as soon as possible. Although the road is washed out, the community is not cut off as an alternate route is available.

"The power's gone to all of Hampden," Martin said.

"The main issue is to get the power back. Then our next concern is everybody down here has no water. We have to try to tie the water in so that we can get water to those people."

He said a culvert underneath the main road was too small and got clogged with debris.

"There was no overflow," he said. "Once that culvert plugged up with debris and everything else - and the time of year it is, too, with spring run-off - and the heavy rains last night along with it, never helped anything. It was a disaster waiting to happen, really. The main thing is the boys done the right thing by getting Wesley out of his house and nobody was hurt."

Martin said he was already in contact with provincial government departments and was under the impression repairs would be in the works as soon as possible.

"I got to say, the way things have moved is just unbelievably quick. ... Everything is just falling into place," he said.

A spokesperson with the Department of Municipal Affairs said the department, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation and Works and other government departments, is taking action to establish a temporary repair to water service as the situation is assessed and plans for more permanent repairs are made.

"Right now, we're just hoping the water lets up a little bit to be able to assess exactly where we need to go from here in order to (make) repairs, but we're trying to establish temporary repairs to the service at the very least," the spokesperson said.

Organizations: Environment Canada, Department of Municipal Affairs, Department of Transportation and Works

Geographic location: Niagara Falls, White Bay, St. John's

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments