Rescues continue in Fond du Lac

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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Crews continued to rescue people from flooding in Fond du Lac overnight.

Ice jams on East Branch of the Fond du Lac River on March 14, 2019 (WBAY photo)

Fond du Lac Fire Rescue reached out to neighboring departments for help with water rescues.

On Thursday, crews made progress on clearing ice jams responsible for significant flooding in downtown Fond du Lac.

Ice jams on the east branch of the Fond du Lac River became stuck on the bridges. The jams acted as a plug and sent water over the banks.

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The Fond du Lac School District is closed Friday due to the flooding. A district tweet reads, "Please support each other during this tough time. #cardinalfamily"

It was about 5 a.m. Thursday when the flood waters started to creep in.

Fifteen homes and several apartment buildings were evacuated.

Evacuations happened along W 9th Street and Western Avenue. Firefighters evacuated an apartment building at 92 Forest Avenue.

The Fond du Lac Fire Department believes several hundred people were displaced.

Fond du Lac High School's football field was almost completely under water Thursday morning.

By late morning, crews were using heavy machinery to remove the ice jams. They loaded the large chunks of ice and debris onto trucks. It was hauled away from the scene.

Sandbags were lined up to protect the city-county building from water.

Progress has been made, but there's still work to be done.

"As the water moves out, we're just going to keep moving people back. I know Alliant is out with electric and gas. They're watching real closely, they're shutting off gas and electric as the water moves as well to try and stay ahead of it," says Fond du Lac Fire Division Chief Troy Haase.

The American Red Cross and County agencies served lunch and helped about 60 evacuees at the Fond du Lac Rec Center at the county fairgrounds this morning.

The Red Cross moved the emergency shelter to Community Church, N6717 Streblow Dr. The Red Cross tells Action 2 News that about 75 people signed up for shelter there.

The following shelters are open for flood victims:

* Fond du Lac - Community Church, N6717 Streblow Dr.
* Fond du Lac - Harbor Haven, 459 E. 1st St.

The Fond du Lac Fire Department urges flooding victims to call 211 for assistance.

Earlier views from the Western Avenue bridge over the East Branch of the Fond du Lac River showed ice jams and fallen trees blocking the river.

"What we're trying to do is we're trying to remove the ice so the water can flow better," says Fond du Lac Fire Department Division Chief Troy Haase. "The ice is up against the bridge and it can't flow through so it's backing the water up."

Haase said the area of Elm Street and South Street had 20 inches of water over the roads.

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Alliant Energy went door-to-door to make sure gas and electric were shut off in affected homes.

Haase expected the flooding situation to last all day.

"I'm expecting this is going to take another couple, three hours to move this ice as they're doing it. Maybe as they get some of it, it will start to flow a little better and goes a little faster, but from what I see there's a lot of ice to move and piece by piece," Haase says. "And you're talking about 400 to 500 feet of the river looks like it's jammed up."

Alliant Energy has taken this opportunity to remind residents about safety:

--Do not walk through your flooded home until gas or electric are turned off.

--Do not handle electric appliances while standing in water.

CLICK HERE for more gas and electric flood safety tips.








High water nearly covers a fire hydrant in Fond du Lac on March 14, 2019. (WBAY photo)
Ice jams on East Branch of the Fond du Lac River on March 14, 2019 (WBAY photo)
Ice jams on East Branch of the Fond du Lac River on March 14, 2019 (WBAY photo)