Emergency crews help rescue and evacuate residents following heavy rainfall in Monroe County

MONROE CO. – Heavy rains fell Friday afternoon and continued into Saturday morning and kept emergency crews busy with rescues and evacuations in Monroe County. Garden Villa Nursing home on Curry Pike was evacuated.

Police officers, deputies, firefighters and emergency medical personnel worked together to reach victims trapped in the flash flooding throughout Monroe County.

Bloomington Firefighters responded to more than 60 calls which included 16 water rescues. Two fire stations lost power during the unprecedented storm.

Emergency personnel waded into and used boats in flood waters to reach those in need.

Photos provided by Bloomington Fire Department and Monroe Fire Protection District

More than 3 feet of water rushed into the basement of the City of Bloomington Fire Headquarters.

The calls started coming in just before 10:00 p.m. Friday. Floodwaters left vehicles stranded in high water, businesses also started to flood stranding staff and patrons requiring some to be resuced.

Rescue crews responded to Kirkwood Avenue, Dunn, Sixth Street, South Rogers, Grimes Lane, and Sare Road in Bloomington.

Ellettsville firefighters were also busy assisting residents in their community. The town received more than 7 inches of rain.

The Monroe Fire Protection District responded to more than 60 emergency calls in less than a 12-hour period. The first emergency was reported around 10 p.m. Friday and continued to come in until around noon Saturday.

Crews spent the night crisscrossing the county to check on all the individuals who called 911 for help. One call the District responded to was at Garden Villa on Curry Pike. Water that was across the road had flooded the lower parking lot of the building. This water then began filling the building with water.

Firefighters arrived and worked with the facility staff to move residents to a higher area of the building.

The Monroe County Emergency Management Director Allision Moore worked with the facility to help keep residents safe.

Residents were later evacuated to another Garden Villa facility in Lawrence County. Lawrence County Emergency Management director Valarie Luchauer coordinated volunteers to help with those efforts.

While some firefighters helped at Garden Villa others were called to Woodland Springs apartments on Leonard Springs Road. The lower level of the complex was flooding and filling the apartments with water. Crews were able to ensure all lower-level residents could safely leave or stay on the upper level of the complex until the water receded

Other Monroe Fire crews spent time helping to evacuate several duplexes on Pinewood Lane that were being filled with water. Those residents were assisted by the Emergency Management in finding a temporary shelter at the Southside Christian Church.

Monroe Fire Protection District firefighters also assisted Bloomington City Fire with a water rescue behind the Ford dealership on South Walnut Street.

Fire units from Monroe Fire arrived with different types of boats to help firefighters get across the swift-moving water to rescue two males and a dog that were found cold from the creek water and the rain

Along with the water rescue calls, firefighters responded to numerous fire alarms, downed power lines, and trees across blocking roadways before they finally caught a small break in the weather.

Several roadways were closed due to debris left by the storm.

Damage assessments are currently underway for homes, businesses, and public safety buildings impacted by the storm, more information will be made available according to officials.

Friday night, Bloomington and the surrounding area experienced an extreme weather event that included rain, high winds, and flooding in some areas. City staff, including members of the Bloomington Fire Department, Bloomington Police Department, Public Works, City of Bloomington Utilities, and others, worked through the night responding to emergency calls for service. Flooding inside the city appears to be concentrated in the downtown area, specifically Kirkwood Avenue between Indiana Avenue and Washington Street. The business may be temporarily interrupted in the area. 

“Thanks to our exceptional emergency responders, so far as we know no lives were lost and we accomplished at least 17 water rescues. As with any natural disaster, we are grateful for the lives spared and all those who responded through the night. We will work together as a community to help each other recover from the property damage sustained. Please reach out to your neighbors and do what you can to assist those in need,” said Mayor John Hamilton.

Damage assessment throughout the community has begun. All area residents are urged to avoid flooded areas and remain tuned into emergency announcements as additional rain is possible. Residents of Monroe County, including Bloomington, are encouraged to sign up for the Monroe County Emergency Alert System (Everbridge) here.