Heavy rains caused flash flooding in the City of Danville during the night. The flooding kept the Danville Fire Department busy responding to multiple calls during storm.
At 1:32 A.M. two engines and a ladder were dispatched to South Boston Road near the airport McDonalds for vehicles stranded in flood waters and occupants trapped inside. When fire units arrived they found that two occupants had escaped their vehicle but three occupants remained trapped. A second vehicle was found to have one person trapped inside as well. All four victims were removed from their vehicles by firefighters and moved to safety. While assisting the motorist firefighters discovered that the flood waters had risen to the doors of the McDonalds restaurant on South Boston Road. Firefighters evacuated the business and assisted the occupants along with employees to safety.
A third engine that was enroute to assist with these rescues encountered flood waters in their path. The roadway at the intersection of Arnett Blvd. and Riverside Drive was flooded which prevented them from responding to the incident. The engine was used to block the roadway and prevent vehicles from entering the flooded intersection.
At 2:55 a.m. two engines were dispatched to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Audubon Drive for a report of a vehicle with occupants stranded in flood waters. When firefighters arrived they found one vehicle with three occupants in the flooded intersection. The occupants were rescued by firefighters and moved to safety.
The Danville Fire Department reminds motorist that driving across flooded roadways is extremely dangerous. Most cars will float (and be swept away) in 18-24 inches of moving water. Trucks and SUVs are not much better with only 6-12 more inches of clearance. Creeks and rivers can rise very rapidly and the road bottom can also wash away making the water much deeper than it appears.
Determining the depth of the water is impossible rushing water can erode the asphalt or concrete roadways creating a void or sinkhole. Therefore, what appears to be a few inches of water could be a void several feet deep.
If you encounter high water on a roadway take and alternate route don't tempt the danger of driving through the high water. By doing so you are putting lives at risk not only yours and your passengers but also the people who will risk their lives to rescue you. Remember turn around do not drown!
Released by: Richie Guill, Assistant Fire Marshal, Danville Fire Department.