SIDNEY – Multiple motorists had to be rescued from their vehicles as several inches of rain fell in Shelby County and the surrounding areas overnight and into the morning hours on Friday.
The Botkins Volunteer Fire Department and the Kettlersville-Van Buren Township Fire Department both responded to calls that required the assistance of boats from Sidney and Wapakoneta to rescue motorists trapped by high water.
The Wapakoneta Fire Department provided assistance to the Botkins Volunteer Fire Department with a boat shortly after 3 a.m. when a motorist was trapped north of the village in Auglaize County. Then around 7:20 a.m. the Botkins Volunteer Fire Department received assistance from the Sidney Fire Department and its RIT-Craft rescue boat when a man was trapped in his truck on state Route 274 near Wenger Road.
Around 10:15 a.m. Friday the Kettlersville-Van Buren Township Fire Department received assistance from the Sidney Fire Department and its boat to rescue a motorist stranded on Wells Road between Hardin Wapak Road and Staley Road.
Water quickly rose as downpours hit the already saturated region beginning Thursday night.
By Friday morning, the Auglaize County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency reported Fort Loramie received 1.63 inches and Botkins received 2.77 inches. In Auglaize County, Minster received 1.84 inches, New Bremen received 2.1 inches, New Knoxville received 3.4 inches, Freyburg received 5 inches, and Wapakoneta received between 3.92 and 6.56 inches in parts of the city. The city of Sidney Wasterwater Treatment plant recorded 1.54 inches of rain in Sidney.
Jackson Center Village Administrator Bruce Metz reported the village had 5.25 inches of rain but didn’t have any major issues as a result.
“All in all we fared pretty well for how much rain we got,” Metz said.
Jackson Center closed five roads Friday morning and received reports of four businesses and several residences with water in them. The village’s police department made some checks on residents, but there were no emergency calls.
“You can’t plan for this much (rain),” Metz said. “It’s just hard to do your infrastructure to handle this much rain. It’s so costly to match that amount of rain, but we fared well.”
Botkins Village Administrator Randy Purdy also said his village fared well considering how much rain fell.
“It didn’t seem too bad,” Purdy said. “Most of the places in town there was an alternate route to get through, and it’s drained pretty quickly since. Our infrastructure worked perfectly. It just too much water too quickly.”
Water peaked around 3:30 a.m., Purdy said, with six roads closed within the village as a result. Botkins and Jackson Center schools did close Friday because of high water in their districts.
Several dozen roads were closed throughout Shelby County on Friday, Shelby County Engineer Robert Geuy said, and the county called in employees around 2 a.m. to respond to issues. Employees put up road closed and high water signs with Botkins and the areas north of Anna among most affected.
The Botkins Volunteer Fire Department was one of the busiest departments as it responded to five calls of motorists trapped in vehicles, including the two calls that required boat rescues. Sixteen men, all volunteers, responded to the calls.
“I think everybody did an excellent job,” Chief Patrick Fullenkamp said. “I appreciate all there hard work and dedication.”
Officials from throughout Shelby County encouraged motorists to heed warnings of high water on roadways.
“You always want to be careful and not go through standing water,” Fullenkamp said. “Especially if there’s any flow or current, it’s a lot stronger than people realize.”
Reach this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-538-4824.