Second ice jam prompts emergency response meeting in Kent

Route 7 is closed indefinitely while crews monitor the ice dams on the Housatonic River (WFSB)

Dozens of representatives attended an emergency response meeting in Kent on Sunday evening to determine how to best handle the flooding concerns in low-lying areas as a second ice jam, farther north than the first, is making its way south along the Housatonic River.

A second ice jam has formed near Kent School on Macedonia Rd in the Housatonic River a day after residents were encouraged to self evacuate their homes on Saturday.

Kent Fire crews, EMS, the Department of Transportation, the Health Department, waste management, State Police met with the Town Selectman Bruce Adams and State Representative Brian Ohler to organize resources to prevent more flooding and refreezing as the water rises.

"Unfortunately, we are sitting on a huge unknown, and no one, including the weather service, knows how what is going to happen," said First Selectman Bruce Adams. "I know we are much better prepared for it now than we were an hour ago," he said following the meeting.

Fire officials say they are waiting for the ice to break up naturally and for water levels to recede. State Rep. Brian Ohler, who is also a volunteer firefighter and helped with evacuations on Saturday, says they are urging people to stay off the ice jam.

"We just made a contingency plan all of our agencies," said Rep. Ohler. "It’s a more seamless process, hopefully, it’ll be more effective if and when we need to act."

The Fire Chief said a few homeowners are now dealing with brown water. He suggests if there is flooding around the home to get the water tested.

"If you have a concern of your water," said Chief Alan Gawel. "Water should be tested."

Gawel said he will ensure that updated information is posted to the Kent Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page.

The flood waters at Kent School have turned to ice as the temperatures have dropped. Kent School teacher, Randy Hobbs told Eyewitness News that the students are doing well.

"The students are in good shape, we’ve been keeping in touch," said Hobbs. "Everyone’s safe and sound."

Route 7 remains closed indefinitely as ice has made the road impassable. Officials said they do not have a timeline as to when Route 7 will re-open.

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