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Rutland father, son swept away by flooding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland father, son swept away by flooding

Rutland, Vermont - August 29, 2011

"I feel hollow inside," Frank Urso said. "I've had an emptiness in my stomach since I heard about it."

Urso received word Monday morning that his brother-in-law, longtime Rutland City employee Michael Joseph Garofano, fell victim to Sunday's storm.

"This is just horrible," Urso said. "I don't know how you can wake up in the middle of this, it's like it can't happen."

Vermont State police started a 60-man search in Mendon Monday morning for Garofano, 55, and his son, Michael Gregory Garofano, 24. The elder Garofano worked as Rutland City's Water Treatment plant supervisor, he and his son went to check on the reservoir near Mendon Brook Sunday, an area devastated by Irene.

"Apparently the bank gave way and they were swept away," Urso said.

Michael Joseph Garofano's body was recovered in the Vermont river, officials are still on the hunt for his son.

"This is simply a monumental tragedy on a number of levels that, frankly, I have no words to describe," Rutland Mayor Chris Louras said.

This tragedy took place in an area now isolated due to severe structural damage, many families can't evacuate. Police are denying anyone access to this part of Route 4 past Mendon which is one of the hardest hit areas, structurally in the state, but it's also a crime scene which complicates things. Families in Killington say they're concerned for those stranded without food and water.

"I'm really concerned. They have no water, no running water and no electricity and we have food but the fridge is not working," said Sasha Stanich, who can't reach his family in Killington.

Stanich watched families roll suitcases down the state highway, hoping to see his wife and two young children.

Now, an area that's already facing significant transportation limitations, structural damage and evacuation issues is trying to stomach the loss of a community member.

"He grew up in the city of Rutland and I'm sure he will be heavily mourned," Urso said.

Helicopter crews have been circling the Rutland area and will continue to search during daylight hours.

Elsewhere in Vermont, a young woman from Macedonia was killed in the flooding. She was participating in a work program at the Mount Snow resort and was swept away while watching the Deerfield River Sunday. Police say another man was found dead in Lake Rescue in Ludlow.

Susie Steimle - WCAX News

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