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Flooding Displaces Hundreds Of Marseilles Residents

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The Illinois River is flooding the town of Mareilles. (CBS)

The Illinois River is flooding the town of Mareilles. (CBS)

UPDATED: 4/19/2013 – 3:28 p.m.

 (CBS) – Much of the town of Marseilles is flooded after a levee broke along the surging Illinois River.

Police and firefighters went door-to-door Thursday night, asking hundreds of people in a low-lying area to evacuate their homes because of rising water from the Illinois River.

The Illinois River floods over the top of a dam in Marseilles, which has been evacuated due to the flooding. (Credit: CBS)

The Illinois River floods over the top of a dam in Marseilles, which has been evacuated due to the flooding. (Credit: CBS)

Early Friday, officials reported the levee along River Street had been breached in several locations in the evacuation area. Water there is several feet deep and still rising.

The levee breach happened after nine barges broke loose from tug boats and slammed into a nearby dam along the Illinois River, causing severe damage. Four of those barges later sunk, officials said.

Six barges hit a dam along the Illinois River in Marseilles due to the flooding, which has prompted the evacuation of the small town. Three of the barges were still floating, but the others were partially or fully submerged. (Credit: CBS)

Six barges hit a dam along the Illinois River in Marseilles due to the flooding, which has prompted the evacuation of the small town. Three of the barges were still floating, but the others were partially or fully submerged. (Credit: CBS)

About 100 homes were flooded. There is no public access to that area until the waters recede.

Deputy Chief Mike Barr said the evacuation included all residents of a local nursing home.

Police Chief James Hovious told CBS 2 that 1,000 people were asked to leave their residences.

Residents of Rivershores Nursing Home were evacuated to Rutland School on Route 71

Police in Marseilles said the area affected is “south of the railroad tracks,” and that everyone was encouraged to head north to higher ground.

There is a welcome center set up at Illinois Valley Community College for those displaced by the flooding, which has already prompted the closure of the Illinois River Bridge and Canal Street.

Barr said he would not rule out additional evacuations. Matthews says about 5,100 people live in Marseilles.