Firefighters in Kent encouraged residents living along the Housatonic River to consider self-evacuating on Saturday, as a massive ice dam impeded the river's flow and caused water to rise.
As the ice buildup began to melt on Saturday and the days prior, large chunks of ice began collecting into an 'ice dam' which caused the water to slow, rise, and flood nearby properties.
The ice dam slowed nearby Kent School, located on Macedonia Road to flood the school's property, including an ice hockey rink during the middle of a game, said town officials.
Kent School Hockey Rink surrounded by rising flood waters from the Housatonic River. Localized evacuations are ongoing. Fire/EMS/EMD/CSP are coordinating efforts. pic.twitter.com/j3lJe99sJT— Rep. Brian M. Ohler (@BrianOhler) January 13, 2018
In some areas, the flooding was so extensive that crews told Eyewitness News that boats were called in, and a payloader was used to evacuate 3 homes where the water rose to waist deep.
Captain Timothy Limbos said his brother left his home just as the ice dam was approaching.
"The last time this happened he had a pretty bad flood actually," said Captain Limbos. "It was three days before the water was manageable in his basement but this time he was able to get out with no problem."
Eyewitness News joined crews who checked in on residents in low-lying, flood-prone areas.
Kent residents Jeff and Laurie Zidack said they were going to 'tough it out.'
"I’m not worried about it. We’ve got a wood stove if we lose power. We’ve got a generator so we’re all set," said Laurie.
AMAZING photos from above. First pic is the ice jam on the Housatonic River when it was up by Kent School-that’s their field on the left & Rte 7 flooded on the right. Second pic another ice jam flooding Rte 7 pic. Photo Credit: Travis Agne @WFSBnews pic.twitter.com/XlexEy0fzg— Jennifer Lee (@JenLeeTV) January 14, 2018
Fire crews will follow the ice dam until it reaches the Bulls Bridge Dam where they hope the ice will break up and put the town of Kent out of trouble.
"We’ve warned the Town of New Milford, which is a greater town in size and population than us so their fire officials have been up here working with us in preparation for what’s coming down stream," described Kent Fire Chief Alan Gawel.
Because of the flooding and potentially icy conditions, crews said Route 7 is expected to remain closed indefinitely as they work on salting and treating the roads to make sure it is safe and passable for drivers.
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