A combination of rain and melting snow has created some dangerous situations across the Stateline. That’s maybe most obvious in parts of Machesney Park. Monday morning, firefighters had to evacuate a family from their home as the Rock River continues to rise. North Park rescue crews walked through waters up to their waist to move residents out of their flooded homes.
“So far, we’ve done two,” said North Park Fire Department Lt. Richard Wauchope. “As far as how many we expect to do, I mean, that could be anything. We’re just not sure exactly what numbers we’re gonna get when these kind of floodings happen.”
Overnight, the water in the flooded area of Marquette Road froze.
“For us, it makes it more difficult,” said Wauchope. “Now, we have to break through the ice just to get to these homes as well. The ice isn’t thick enough for us to walk on and now we have to break through that to get to all of these homes.”
Firefighters wore yellow rescue suits to keep them warm and dry as they broke through the ice. Wauchope says they prepare for this situation every year.The department has an ice rescue training right before the winter season begins. But, adds they prepare for transports like these on a daily basis.
“These guys are training every single day, they’re working out, trying to build themselves up. So, that way they can be better able to handle situations like this.”
Wauchope says residents shouldn’t try to get out on themselves if they find their homes being surrounded by water.
“If they try driving, it just makes for slicker conditions on the roads that are flooded already that aren’t safe to drive on in the first place.”
When it comes to flood warnings near rivers — fire officials advise residents to leave their homes before the forecasted crests.
“You don’t know how long the flood waters are going to stay up for,” added Wauchope. “You can prepare for so much but if the water goes higher than it was supposed to, they can only predict so much. Be very careful in these type of situations.”