Water rescues in Swanton

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SWANTON, Vt. "I have no idea about my car, or belongings, I'm assuming its all under water," said Joeleene Cushing of Swanton

Cushing woke up to banging on her door around 2 AM.

"My husband was telling me Joeleene, don't be trying to grab anything, don't panic, let's just go," Cushing said.

Water from the Missisquoi River was rapidly flowing over the bank, and into her and others' homes off Rt. 78 in Swanton. First responders on kayaks rescued Joeleene, her husband, and their 16 month old english mastiff Persiis.

"I would've slept right through that and that could've been a catastrophe," said Cushing.

After rescuing over 20 people, beginning in the early morning hours Saturday, crews had to turn back and regroup. Water was rising fast and the road was becoming impassable.

"It came up so fast and so quick that it caught us all by surprise," said Vilage Town Manager Reg Beliveau,

One person WCAX spoke with who lives right across the street from Missisquoi River says he hasn't seen the flooding this bad ever. And said the town hasn't flooding this bad in at least 20 years.

"A lot of these basements are flooded, cars are flooded, we've got fuel oil tanks that are floating out there, propane tanks. It's going to be a long haul for these people," said Beliveau.

Dozens of volunteers have been with the response, some with in with heavy machinery. Colchester Technical Rescue also brought their swift water boats to assist.

"They're actually going down the railroad tracks and then they're cutting in with an inflatable boat, coming off the tracks and floating the boat into the residents," said Beliveau.

A shelter is available at the Missiquoi Valley School for displaced residents. Swanton Fire officials say everyone on the effected stretch of Rt. 78 had been evacuated.

"We as volunteers, we open this up for them, they can come in stay warm, get a bite to eat, sleep," said Lance Toby of Red Cross Vermont.

And residents like Cushing are left wondering how much damaged their properties have sustained.

"I'm assuming the water is in my home, so I'm just hoping I can save anything possible and for now we'll wait it out.," said Cushing.

Town officials say the damage will rise to the level of a disaster declaration. Governor Phil Scott toured the effected areas Saturday afternoon.