Community rallies during Coalville flooding
Ryan Summerlin February 10, 2014
Living in the midst of a drought, residents of Coalville could not have expected their community would be ravaged by flooding this weekend. After considerable snow, however, the rains that came Saturday had nowhere to go but downhill.
At about 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Coalville Mayor Trever Johnson said the LDS Church in town received a call from a resident north of town whose basement was flooded. Johnson went to take a look at the damage, receiving word of another flooded basement about 45 minutes later.
"At that point, I decided we better start getting a sandbag crew together," Johnson said. "I called a local construction company and put the word out for volunteers."
The North Summit Fire District received a call at 11:45 a.m., according to Tyler Rowser, the district’s spokesman. He said the rushing waters proved too much for the city’s storm drain system and ditches. Flood waters flowed into four homes, with significant damage being caused to two.
After the call went out for volunteers, with help from Hoytsville’s LDS 2nd Ward Church, Johnson said there were about 75 volunteers in the course of 45 minutes.
"We were down [by the flooded homes] for seven hours and we filled about 2,300 bags of sand and delivered them," Johnson said. "I couldn’t be more proud of the community’s efforts and their willingness to help."
The American Red Cross was also called in to help residents who could not return to their homes, Rowser said. Additional flooding occurred in Hoytsville and Wanship, and Johnson said some sandbags were sent to Hoytsville.
The weekend’s unique precipitation patterns were mostly to blame, Rowser said. Snowfall over the weekend which changed to rain presented a problem for Coalville’s culverts.
"We had rain the past two days here," Rowser said on Sunday evening. "With that snow [earlier], it wouldn’t let [the rain] absorb into the ground, so it ran right off the mountainside."
The flooding was controlled by Sunday evening, and Johnson said he was extremely humbled by how the community rallied together to help its own.
"People were really just there to help their neighbors and friends," Johnson said. "The credit ought to go to the volunteers in the community."