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Saturday, May 28, 2016
Canajoharie, NY ,

Caroline Murray
Tribes Hill Fire Chief Glenn Newkirk, center, and firefighters warn cars about flooding on Route 5 Friday.


County gathers flood damage estimates, residents back in evacuated homes

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - Updated: 4:19 AM

ROOT -- Five homes threatened by flooding were evacuated at Argersinger Road Friday due to excessive rainfall, and Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort declared a countywide state of emergency, which remained in effect over the weekend until it was rescinded at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“The flooding was localized, but this event was still devastating to those who were affected,” Ossenfort said. “We are working diligently to figure out where repairs are needed and make them as swiftly as possible. While this was an unfortunate incident, our response team reacted exactly how they should to minimize damage and the potential for any danger to residents.” 

As the storm raged on after a week's worth of rain Friday, Anderson, Currytown, Brumley and Argersinger roads were inundated and closed, in addition to Bordon and Lusso roads nearby at the Glen town border, and other thoroughfares across the county.

"We're advising several people to get out of their homes -- we can't force them to leave, but six houses have water in their basements on Argersinger Road, and there's an impending storm," said Rural Grove Fire Department Chief Jeff Kaczor Friday evening.

Kaczor said all of the residents except for one were back in their homes Monday.

The chief couldn't blame a single water body as the source of flooding.

"We honestly don't know where it's coming from yet; we're monitoring water conditions, but flooding is coming across fields from runoff because the ground is so saturated," Kaczor said.

Argersinger Road resident Mike Scott, a Gloversville police officer, said he was on his way home from work when his wife, Diane, called him frantically about water filling up their house.

Diane Scott said she was in the middle of cooking dinner when she noticed water seeping into their home.

Mike Scott said when he arrived, the basement was completely flooded, and the first floor had about 8 inches of water.

He said their insurance agent examined the home already, but did not give them an estimate about how much the damage would cost.

He said since they do not live on a flood plain, they do not have flood insurance.

"All the floors and basement are full of water," Mike Scott said.

Across the street, at 131 Argersinger Road, Michael Montanye's family was in the middle of dinner when they had to evacuate their house.

"It came quick," Mackenzie Montanye said.

Mackenzie Montanye said when she saw the water flooding her home, she grabbed the keys to her car to move it before it was engulfed.

"By the time I got keys in the ignition, the water was all the way up the driveway," Mackenzie Montanye said.

The Rural Grove fire station was flooded; as Kaczor spoke from his cell phone at approximately 7:30 p.m., he was on his way to move two fire trucks before the next predicted storm hit.

In the town of Amsterdam, a two-story home near the intersection of Noonan Road and McDonald Drive suffered what officials deemed a "partial collapse." At the scene, Fort Johnson Volunteer Fire Company officials said the partial collapse was some erosion to the foundation of the home. They said the damage wasn't serious.

Another resident, Stacy Kissinger, also suffered foundation damage to her home nearby on Route 67.

"This has never happened here before," Kissinger said.

Kissinger's boyfriend, Eric Rupp, a construction worker, said he thought the damage was due to lack of maintenance.

"Part of my job is putting in drainage pipes," Rupp said. "I think this flooding on the street is due to a blocked pipe, and that's a 4-foot-wide pipe. It takes a lot for that to get clogged."

Rupp said Kissinger's home had water running under it, eroding the foundation and causing her house to slant.

The Department of Transportation arrived at the scene to dig out the blocked pipe and redirect the water so it would stop running toward Kissinger's and other residents' homes.

Nearby, a clogged drainage pipe caused flooding on Route 5 between Tribes Hill and Fonda, Tribes Hill Volunteer Fire Department Chief Glenn Newkirk said.

Newkirk said the department received a call around 5:30 p.m. about the pool of water stretching across the road.

The state Department of Transportation was working on clearing out the pipe at around 7 p.m. By 9 p.m., the area was controlled.

Ossenfort declared a state of emergency at 9 p.m. due to the extensive damage in the county.

"These conditions threaten the public safety of the citizens of the county," Ossenfort said in the declaration.

He further directed all county departments and agencies to take whatever steps necessary to protect life and property, public infrastructure and provide emergency services as deemed necessary.

The Town of Glen Fire Department had a dozen members on standby at approximately 9:20 p.m., waiting for the next round of storms headed their way.

Fire Chief Jd Downing said significant flooding caused road closures throughout the town earlier in the night, including a section of Route 30A, Van Epps and Scott roads, but receded in between storms.

"We are waiting for the next round of rain. Everything is saturated so we anticipate the roads to flood again," Downing said.

Town of Mohawk Fire Department Chief Jim Lovisa said there were a few incidents of flooding in the town.

"There were a couple of pump-outs of drains on Putnam Road and the water has since subsided," he said. "We are back at the fire house on standby."

A flash flood warning was issued until 10:45 by the National Weather Service, with the heaviest rains occurring in Fulton County heading away from Montgomery County.

County Department of Public Works Commissioner Paul Clayburn said damage in the towns of Root and Glen, where most of the damage was located, was evaluated Saturday and repairs started Monday morning.

"The majority of the repairs [involve] shoulder washouts and opening some culverts," Clayburn said.

A statement posted Tuesday on Montgomery County's Emergency Management Facebook page read, "The county is still in the gathering stages of estimates for repair damage and encourages any municipality to provide the office of Emergency Management with written estimates, photos and documents showing the necessary work. Private property owners with damage are encouraged to do the same. The thresholds for State and Federal assistance are difficult to meet, however, gathering the information and record keeping of any damage is a necessity. Once these totals are gathered, they will be forwarded to the State for potential action."

"Even though the State of Emergency has been rescinded, Ossenfort and Smith urge residents to use caution when traveling, as multiple shoulder washouts have occurred and need to be repaired. Please travel with care."


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