Dark skies over Gowanda 80-year-old man swept away in
Updated: Monday, 10 Aug 2009, 5:25 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 10 Aug 2009, 1:25 PM EDT
GOWANADA, N.Y. (WIVB) - News 4's Rich Newberg reports that Floyd Farley, a man in his 80s, apparently went into cardiac arrest. Floods interfered with Gowanda paramedics efforts to reach him. One firefighter Rich spoke with said, "Believe me, we tried."
The skies over Gowanda are beginning to darken again in the early afternoon, as the southern tier prepares for another round of possible severe thunderstorms.
Patients and staff at Tri-County Hospital in Gowanda were evacuated to Lakeshore Hospital in Irving.
Flood waters knocked out the hospital's generator, there was also basement flooding causing emergency crews to act quickly and evacuate everyone inside. The 3,100 residents of the Village of Gowanda have been told to boil their water because of damage to the reservoir. An estimated 30% of residents have damage to their homes. 50 residents had to be evacuated from as floodwater raged down Main Street.
Cattaraugus Creek swelled from 6 feet to 11 feet in just five minutes Sunday night.
Retired dairy farmer, 80-year-old Theodore Stitzel was swept away while checking a bridge near his barn off Route 62.
Thatcher Brooke which feeds into Cattaraugus Creek, was eight or nine feet above flood stage.
Disaster Coordinater Nick Crassi says, "This is the worst extensive flood damage the village has ever experienced, plus extensive damage to the reservoir is making the reservoir damaged beyond use. We've turned on two additional wells to supplement the loss of the reservoir. We are waiting for the Cattaraugus County Health Department to tell us the water is safe." The disaster coordinator is asking for residents to be patient.
Roads and culverts have undergone extensive damage. Erie County Public Works Commissioner Gerry Sentz told Senior Correspondent Rich Newberg that a road and culvert at Zoar Valley which had just been repaired at a cost of $1 million has been destroyed again.
His main concern now is to warn residents of washed out roads and to unplug blocked culverts to try and prevent more flooding should the region get hit again.