93-Year-Old, 4-Year-Old Rescued From Vermilion Floodwaters


Woman rescued by Vermilion police and fire crews

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VERMILION, Ohio — Ice continued to form dams in at least two places on the Vermilion River Saturday night causing major flooding to last more than 24 hours.

According to the National Weather Service, this is the second highest crest for the Vermilion River in recent history at just more than 16.5 feet. The highest crest was just more than 17 feet in 1969.

The ice-filled flood waters swept through a neighborhood on Riverside Drive Friday night.

Dozens of homes were submerged nearly up to the second level by Saturday morning.

Firefighters rescued six people stranded in four separate homes that were surrounded by icy floodwaters, including 93-year-old Bessie Major.

“I swore I was not going to leave my home again, but today everybody else is having to get out. Well, I might as well, too,” she said.

This was a first-time experience for Ronnie Curless, 4, who was staying with his grandparents.

“I can see floods. I can see houses, boats. This is my first time going on a boat. They were afraid the flood was going to go over our houses — that’s why they came and got us,” he said.

Ronnie’s grandfather Frank Lowery said he didn’t really want to leave.

“But they said I had to because they thought it was going to get worse. So, I told them I had to get the dogs out. They wanted me to leave the dogs, and I said I wasn’t doing that in case something happened, the dogs would be stranded,” Lowery said.

Vickie Lowery said it was the worst flooding she’s seen in the 10 years she has lived on Riverside Drive.

“Usually it goes down pretty fast. This is the highest since we’ve been here that’s it’s been like this,” she said.

Emergency responders made several runs answering the calls for help.

“We do not know the extent of the people who are still down there that may be in their homes. We responded to every call that was received,” Chief Chris Stempowski said. “All they can do now is wait and see what the water will do next.”

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