WESTBROOKVILLE - Firefighters rescued six people from a flooded home after a massive ice jam in the Pine Kill creek sent water, ice, rocks and wood spilling across properties and Route 209 early Friday afternoon.
Firefighters brought three adults and three children out of the flooded home, but no one was injured, said a woman walking out of the affected area with the group. They declined to comment.
Officials shut down Route 209 between Pine Kill Road and Port Orange Road. As of mid-afternoon, that section of Route 209 remained closed.
Bill Lattimer, assistant fire chief at the Westbrookville Fire Department, said firefighters also brought two other people out of another home, which did not suffer structural damage. The local Red Cross chapter was at the firehouse to provide assistance to the victims, he said.
Lattimer said the stretch of frigid temperatures caused the creek to freeze, and the thaw plus rainfall triggered the ice to break up and move. The ice jammed against the bridge where Route 209 crosses the creek, triggering the flooding.
“It’s creating a whole mess around that bridge,” Lattimer said.
Firefighters from Otisville, Cuddebackville, Huguenot and Port Jervis departments assisted Westbrookville at the scene, along with the Mamakating First Aid Squad. State police and the Department of Environmental Conservation helped with rescue and traffic control. Workers from the state Department of Transportation and the Mamakating Highway Department brought in heavy equipment to clear ice away from the bridge, allowing the creek to flow freely.
“The water’s flowing now,” Lattimer said as the backhoe worked. “They’re working on the ice jam, and just hoping the rain will stop.”
Firefighters checked on seven or eight properties on Jagger Lane, which runs near the bridge. Everyone was accounted for and safe, Lattimer said.
Shortly after 2 p.m., state police shut down Route 209 to commercial traffic at the Route 17 overpass in Wurtsboro, diverting southbound trucks to Route 211.
Outside the Westbrookville Post Office, Brian Macha remarked on the eight-foot-high wall of ice backed up behind the bridge, and the sea of ice surrounding the houses alongside.
“I feel bad for those people in that house,” he said. “It must have been scary.”