Ice jam floods homes, forces evacuations

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – An ice jam on the Wildcat Creek floods nearly a dozen homes forcing nearly 20 people to evacuate.

“We’ve lived out here for about 30 years and I’ve seen three floods and nothing ever as bad as this,” resident David Johnson said after being evacuated from his home. “It’s been unbelievable.”

People living along Barton Beach Road are in awe as an ice jam in the Wildcat Creek causes flood waters to fill nearly a dozen homes.

“It’s usual for it to flood here,” Tippecanoe County EMA director Smokey Anderson said. “It is absolutely unusual for the current to come through the homes like it is right now.”

Rodney Ward said when he drove down the road to his home on Barton Beach Road it was clear around midnight, but shortly it changed drastically.

“It was about midnight and I went to bed and 45 minutes later I woke up there was that much water and there was nothing when I went in there,” Ward said.

“At one o’clock this morning I got a frantic call from the neighbor that started yelling to check outside that the creek had jumped way up out of the banks,” Johnson said. “By the time I got over to the window my car was already under water.”

Anderson said nearly 20 people were evacuated from their homes. Many rescued by members of the Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Fire Department and DNR.

“We we’re called at 1:30 a.m. and removed about 10 folks and then another eight or so elected to stay and then the river continued to come up and they wanted to get out. We came back this morning around seven,” Anderson said.

“We were rescued by the Sheriff’s Department,” Johnson said. “They came down in the hovercraft boat and rescued us from the house. They had to literally carry us from the house because the water was four feet deep at the back door.”

Anderson said there’s not much crews can do to bust the ice jam because they’re not sure exactly where the problem is, and with colder temperatures in the forecast Anderson said the ice may stick around for a while.

“All of our vehicles are under water and it’s just very heartbreaking,” Johnson said.

Anderson said two homes on Eisenhower Court upstream were also evacuated.

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