CHICAGO (CBS) — The worst flooding in a decade in Lake Station, Indiana, has forced dozens of families out of their homes, while many others have refused to leave, even with water covering a large portion of the city.
A voluntary evacuation order has been issued in Lake Station, and at least 25 homes have followed officials’ recommendation and gotten out.
The Deep River overflowed its banks in Lake Station as heavy rain fell in waves for more than three days.
“The last reading I received on it last night, we were at 19.7 [feet],” Lake Station Fire Chief Chuck Fazekas said.
During the last big flood in Lake Station in 2008, the river reached more than 22 feet high. Fazekas said the river appears to have crested now that the rain has stopped.
Firefighters in the town of 12,000 people went door-to-door on Wednesday, asking people to leave their homes until the flooding recedes. The marine unit evacuated eight people, but many people refused to leave their homes.
Olivia Romero went to work Wednesday morning thinking her home was in good shape, but when she came back, the water was lapping at her door, so the mother of two decided it was time to go.
“A six-month-old baby, so that’s why we’re just going to shelter at my cousin’s house,” she said. “I’m happy that she’s offered to help. Like I said, we’ll worry about material things later. Right now it’s just safety.”
Derrica McCarroll moved into her home in Lake Station about a month ago. So walking out of her home Thursday morning was a bit of a challenge. She was pleased the water hadn’t risen high enough to damage her car’s engine, or the living space of her home, which is on a raised foundation.
Still, she said it has been nerve-wracking watching the water rise the past couple days.
“I actually came home from work, and it was flooded already, but I guess it just got worse. It was not like this yesterday when I came home from work,” she said. “It is horrible for people whose houses are on the ground, because there’s water damage.”
Officials said most people who left their homes appeared to be staying with friends or family, but some bunked down in Red Cross shelters operating in the area.
Rescue crews planned to go out in boats again on Thursday to check on homeowners who decided to wait out the city’s worst flood in a decade.
While the water has not yet started to go down, officials said the flooding is not quite as bad as in 2008, when the Little Calumet River and Deep River reached record high water levels.