Wayne County flooding washes away road, leads to dozens of rescues: ‘Worst in last decade’

WOOSTER, Ohio- The worst flood in recent memory for officials in Wayne County impacted hundreds, left homes flooded, led to the partial collapse of a building and washed away portions of two roads.

"This has been the worst we've seen in the last decade," said Lara Kiefer, the executive director of the Red Cross Lake Erie and Heartland Chapter.

Kiefer said about 400 people were impacted by the flash flood. Twenty-five people had to be rescued, according to Wooster Fire Chief Barry Saley.

He described Sunday's flood as rapid, where over the course of a few hours the area went from no flooding to three to five feet of water.

"Folks did not realize the significance of the events that were occurring until they realized the water was coming down at such a rapid pace they couldn't even step out of their homes for fear of drowning," said Kiefer.

Both sides of McCoy Road in Franklin Township were surrounded by caution tape Monday as people gathered to look at the gaping hole that split the entire street in half.

"This is a first for me," said Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson. "I've seen smaller areas of culverts that have washed out but nothing this great."

People who live on the residential street said they were not trapped since there is a second exit on the street. According to the sheriff, no serious injuries were reported.

"I use this road to go to my mom's house," said Tasha Johnson. "My boat actually got washed away that was in the field; it turned and then it took off."

The Red Cross plans to open an emergency shelter for a second night based on need. They estimate at least two dozen people will need a dry place to sleep.

"It's just rushing, has a lot of velocity," said Fire Chief Saley. "It can undermine materials, roadways, buildings; it can really take apart strong structures."

It's exactly what happened to the Moose Lodge in Wooster where strong floodwaters caused the building to partially collapse, leaving the entire front facade exposed, with chairs still tucked underneath tables inside the social club visible from the street.

"The floodwater was about four foot high and just washed everything away," said member Jim Harris. "Walls caved in, pretty much destroyed the place."

The lodge was closed during the incident; no one was hurt.

More on the flooding in Wayne County.

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