PHOTOS: Flash Flooding hits downtown WRJ and Hartford Village
Five businesses heavily damaged on River Road
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Intense rain showers sent a deluge of water down Route 5 and North Main Street into the heart of downtown White River Junction on Saturday afternoon, washing away chunks of pavement and flooding basements along the way.
On VA Cutoff Road opposite Hartford Village, large sections of the gravel ballast embankment holding up the main north-south railroad line through Vermont gave way, stopping all freight trains in and out of White River Junction as well as the northbound Amtrak Vermonter, and sending a landslide down onto five local business, including AC Motors and Deni & Company hair salon. The impact shoved at least one of the buildings forward off of its foundation and forced a van that had been parked inside right out through the garage doors.
AC Motors owner Chuck Gordon said several of his tenants who lived in part of the buildings were going to have to spend the night in area hotels before the full extent of the damage could be determined. Gordon complained bitterly at the scene, saying that he had spent the past year warning that previous drainage arrangements which shunted water away from the train tracks behind his buildings had been filled in and altered but he said "the town and the railroad were put on notice by me and my lawyers but have just spent their time since then pointing fingers at each other and saying it wasn't their responsibility."
In Hartford Village, back yards turned into small lakes and a section of Christian Street near the old school, which now houses the offices of HCRS (Health Care and Rehabilitative Services), washed completely away.
The Town of Hartford activated their Emergency Operations Center at the combined Hartford Fire and Police Department building and extra police were on duty throughout the town as darkness fell and the Ottaquechee River rose to within a few inches of its banks in Quechee.
Hartford Police Sgt. Jay Pedro secured the intersection of North Main and Church Streets
Residents of downtown White River Junction gathered to check out the damage
Large chunks of pavement were lifted up and washed out of North Main Street
North Main Street was shut off at the Bugbee Senior Center and waves of water and debris even travelled out onto the Urban Bridge at the height of the flash flooding.
Police stopped traffic at the intersection of Routes 4 and 5 and said at one point both sides of the road were completely underwater.
Water cascades from the back of Mainly Vintage into the parking lot of LISTEN's furniture store, which is the former 25,000 Gifts and Woolens building
Ann Hayden, owner of Mainly Vintage, shows Hartford Town Manager Leo Pullar the waterfall that formed on her lawn
Large washouts undermined the tracks paralleling River Road for at least 50 yards and there were reports of houses further up having been shifted off their foundations by the mudslides
Denielle Gordon looks over the bank slide that hit the back of her salon, Den & Company, on River Road
Captain David Shropshire in front of the buildings hit by the bank slide on River Road. A mini-van has been forced through a garage door in the center of the complex. Most of the green buildings on the left were filled with mud and the initial assessment by the owners was that they had been destroyed.
A large pine tree shoots along the surface of the swollen White River
Low lying back yards in Hartford Village became small lakes
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