Emergency crews responded to several water-related calls Wednesday, including construction workers who had to be rescued by boat, after strong rains caused flooding in Statesville.
Flash flooding began being reported around 4:10 p.m. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), as much as 7 inches of rain had fallen between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Fourth Creek was "out of its banks in some places," the NWS reported, and was flooding into nearby yards and structures. On Free Nancy Drive, which runs over Fourth Creek near Sullivan Road, several construction workers had to be rescued by Mooresville Fire boats, according to firefighters.
None of the construction workers were injured.
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A bus parking lot near Statesville High School was flooded with several feet of water, as well as a drugstore in downtown. Other roads affected, the NWS said, were Springdale Drive at Georgia Avenue and Shelton Avenue at Allison Street.
Although the rain was tapering off by 4:30 p.m., officials said it may take hours for flooded areas to drain.
“This was a very unusual event for us here in the city of Statesville-something we don’t expect, something that was very fast,” explained Statesville Fire Department Interim Chief Gary Styers.
Styers said first responders from several local agencies made 18 water rescues, responded to 12 car accidents and saw seven homes take on water damage.
“Trees down, power lines down, just a gamut of events occurring this evening that we had to respond to," said Styers.
On Tradd Street, where some residents were dealing with a major cleanup because their basements were badly damaged, Robert Stevenson had a different perspective on the flood.
"I had the front door open and I was looking at the street" he said.
Stevenson said he didn't know there was flooding in his backyard. That's where his grandson's puppy, five month old Secur, was tied up.
He said when he realized what was happening, he went to the back.
"I followed the clothes line," Stevenson said. I knew he was hooked to that. I was calling his name. I was wondering if he might be stuck or something so I grabbed his tether."
Stevenson said he maneuvered through the water.
"My back against the wall. My hands on the clothes line" and as he followed the puppy's line, he said it led to the basement, where he found the puppy inside - drowned.
Stevenson said his first thought was, "What I have done? Because if he had been in the home..."
Stevenson said "I feel responsible."
Over on Cherry Street, Gloria Droneburg was feeling a lot of emotions.
"Oh I cried. I cried because I had never gone through this" Gloria Droneburg said.
Droneburg's basement apartment at Cherry Street Apartments began taking in water. Her carpets were water logged, and floors were soaked. Droneburg said she wasn't sure how much damage her furniture suffered.
"It was just pouring down rain," she said. "It was like a river out there you couldn't see any of the grass"
Droneburg said she documented the rising water, snapping pictures of the flooded backyard and the parking lot.
By early evening, cleaning crews were at her apartment complex.
"I want them to clean the carpets well enough that I'm not going to have a fear of living with mold" she said.
The Statesville High School football field took a beating in the heavy rains. Football coach Randall Gusler said he watched as the field ended up covered in several feet of water.
“It was just like 'oh my gosh please don’t be a flood that stays and doesn’t drain and kills my field.' That was my worse fear,” the coach said.
He said most of the water had drained from the field by Wednesday night. He said the turf should be good to go in a couple of weeks when the season starts.
“As long as we don’t get hammered with a whole lot more rain in the next couple days, I think we’ll be okay,” said Gusler.
He said the school's administration is already working on plans to clean up the area surrounding the field.