Boats were on standby near a Bargersville neighborhood Tuesday morning, ready to move in to evacuate residents should floodwaters come close to breaching any homes.
The Bargersville Fire Department put out a call for assistance on Facebook, asking if nearby residents had boats they could bring in, and about a dozen people responded, ready to assist with evacuating residents if needed, fire chief Jason Ramey said.
The key area: the Stone Village neighborhood near State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road, where residents were evacuated at least twice before due to flooding in 2013 and 2015.
“Unfortunately, this is a neighborhood prone to flooding,” Ramey said.
Story continues below gallery
Evacuations didn’t end up being necessary. While flood water covered streets and driveways, it never got to a point where a mandatory evacuation was necessary, Ramey said. The fire department had begun looking for a local church to help house displaced residents, if necessary, and waited and monitored the situation.
Emergency also workers checked on a 95-year-old woman living by herself in the neighborhood to make sure she was doing OK, he said.
The White River Fire Department also briefly considered evacuations in the El Dorado neighborhood, off State Road 135, south of Olive Branch Road, but flood waters never reached the point where that was necessary, fire chief Jeremy Pell said. One resident was taken from a home in a truck, he said.
Firefighters were also called to a couple of minor house fires that began with lightning strikes from the storm, as well as to a driver who had become trapped at an intersection, Pell said.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, more than a dozen roads closed in the Center Grove area and Bargersville. By Thursday afternoon, only a few roads remain closed, including a section of Smith Valley Road, near Honey Creek Road, and parts of Mullinix Road, but were expected to clear up by Wednesday morning, Pell said.
Many of the streets that flooded in the Center Grove area were ones where flooding has not been normal in the past, such as in the El Dorado neighborhood, Pell said.
Pell and other firefighters were driving around the Center Grove area on Tuesday, checking on locations that had flooded earlier in the day. The department hadn’t received any reports of homes or businesses that flooded.
While Bargersville received several reports of flooded basements, as of Tuesday afternoon officials had not heard of any businesses or main levels of homes that had flooded, Ramey said.
Heavy downpours of rain made many roads in Bargersville impassible and dangerous to travel for much of Tuesday morning and afternoon. Floodwaters crested over sections of State Road 135, County Road 144 and many streets in downtown Bargersville, Ramey said.
Ramey, who had worked the morning of the massive 2008 flood in Johnson County, said the heavy rain Tuesday morning reminded him of the flooding from nine years ago.
Some spots, such as near County Road 200N and County Road 75W, which traditionally flood during periods of heavy rain were again underwater on Tuesday. Other roads, such as Division Street and County Road 144, were flooded significantly worse than he had ever seen before, Ramey said.
When Michael Hobein and his son Gage tried to head out to the grocery store and pharmacy to pick up medication on Tuesday morning, they couldn’t get out of their Bargersville neighborhood. A pond in their neighborhood, Morris Meadows, had overflowed, leaving the entrance under a foot or more of water, Michael Hobein said.
The water hadn’t reached their home, and they still had power, so Hobein was counting himself lucky, he said.
With the rain slowing down by late Tuesday afternoon, Ramey said he was hopeful that most of the streets would be clear by Wednesday morning. The department kept watch overnight, driving by to check on problem spots.
Given the amount of water the area received, Bargersville was fortunate to not have any reports of injuries, he said.