Crews work to break up ice to stop Brattleboro flooding

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) The water started to rise in a mobile home park in Brattleboro Thursday, forcing 14 families to be evacuated from their homes. Friday, machines started breaking up the ice at the nearby brook which caused the flooding.

Load after load, ice is scooped up from a clogged waterway off Route 9 in Brattleboro.

"It's an ice jam that caused the problem," said Stephen Barrett of Brattleboro Public Works.

Officials say warm temperatures and heavy rains caused a rapid melt. The drifting ice downstream then dammed up.

"The water is still leaving the stream, the Whetstone Brook, in an area just west of the Mountain Home park," Barrett said.

"They had to get us out with a bucket loader and I had to get my three cats out," Jeff Waite said.

Waite lives in one of the homes evacuated. Electricity has been shut off to the house.

"When they came at the house and told me I had to evacuate, I happened to look out and I said what the heck is going on," Waite said.

He stayed with family Thursday night but says he is aware the shelter set up in town for displaced residents. This is not the first time he has been forced to deal with flooding.

"We got flooded out with Irene," Waite said. "This is the second time we got flooded out with ice jams."

And this ice jam is affecting more than just residents. As water raced down the edge of Route 9, a hardware store and RV dealership were dealing with the consequences.

"There are businesses affected also on Route 9," Barrett said.

Officials said it might take crews all day Friday to get the ice broken up so the brook can return to its banks.