Chatham-Kent fire and emergency crews rescue a family of five from their flooded home in Chatham. February 24, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services)

Flood Rescues Continue In Chatham

Chatham-Kent fire crews are still rescuing more stranded residents and CK Fire and EMS Chief Bob Crawford is asking for people to pray that the impending rain holds off.

Just hours after residents living on Siskind Ct. in Chatham were taken to safety by firefighters, another flooded home was evacuated in Chatham — this time, a family of five.

As for future rescues, Fire and Emergency Services Chief Bob Crawford says anyone who is thinking about leaving their home that may need help from emergency crews should also call for assistance before dark.

“When we get into the evening hours and the water is rising, it’s more difficult for us to assist you and it’s very difficult for us to come to your aid in the event that you call for help,” says Crawford, adding people in flood areas should check in with their neighbours to make sure they are OK. “If you know there’s a vulnerable person on your street, check on them and let us know if you need some more help.”

He says anyone with a non-emergency situation should call the municipality at 519-360-1998, while anyone with an emergency should call 9-1-1.

The Thames River floods several residents' backyards across from the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre. February 24, 2018. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

The Thames River floods several residents’ backyards across from the Chatham-Kent Civic Centre. February 24, 2018. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

Meantime, as flood waters continue to rise on the Thames River in Chatham and are expected to peak sometime late Saturday night, a forecasted rainfall may complicate matters.

Speaking at a news conference at the Civic Centre in Chatham Saturday afternoon, Bob Crawford said officials are watching the radar very closely, adding that brisk winds and some sunshine Saturday afternoon helped to dry up some of the water.

“We would certainly encourage everyone to pray for a dry night and keep a good thought for no rain clouds until we get the water down a little,” said Crawford. “Each millimeter of rain that falls from the sky causes us pressure on an already straining system… right now we are quietly hopeful that it won’t have a tremendous effect on things.”

Crawford says the John D. Bradley Centre in Chatham, which has been serving as an emergency shelter, will also remain open indefinitely for residents.

“Everybody that’s involved in this is committed to looking out for the community,” says Crawford. “We don’t have a date and time that we will close that down — as long as there’s a need, we will be there.”