Dozens rescued during Fish River flooding

Those that live on Fish River experienced the worst flooding seen in decades.  As heavy rains continued to fall overnight Tuesday, April 29, 2014, the river rose quickly…so quickly emergency crews had to  rescue dozens of people. Daylight revealed just how bad things got.

Fish River experienced nothing short of a historic flood overnight and into the morning.  As rain fell at a rate of several inches an hour throughout the night, the river swelled to record levels, surpassing flood stages set during Hurricane Danny 17 years ago.

“If Governor Bentley doesn’t declare this a state of emergency, something’s wrong because there’s people’s houses that are three quarters of the way underwater,” said river resident, Dale Bowman.

Many roads through south Baldwin County have been closed due to the rising river. Many neighborhoods were cut off, leaving people stranded and calling for help.

“At which point we would be in that area, go for those people.  Along the way, of course, we’d find others, neighbors and it was a chain of events, so we’d get them as we came across them,” explained Kimberly Wilson with the Fish River / Marlow Volunteer Fire Department.

Those rescues and evacuations continued throughout the day Wednesday, both by search and rescue crews as well as those in their own boats checking on stranded family members.

Big Daddy’s Grill got nearly three feet of water throughout the restaurant.  Dozens of boats are stored in boathouses behind the restaurant…almost all of them trapped and damaged. Charles Davis’s boat is not longer in the best of shape.

“It’s insured, but it’s a family boat.  We’ve had it for 28 years.  It’s my good running, steady boat.  We use it every weekend,” said Charles Davis as he watched his listing and trapped boat continuously bilge water.

To keep his boat safe, another boatowner I spoke with rode the storm out…onboard.

“It was just a tremendous downpour of rain, lightning, thunder…it was just…you never knew what was going to come floating through the water and it was just, you know…stayed up all night,” Raymond Vick said of the experience.

Captain Wilson said they did about 40 rescues through the flood and wasn’t aware of any injuries.

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