Flooding Displaces Hundreds Of Marseilles Residents
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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.
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.
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.