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Flooding emergency declared in Malone

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MALONE - The Salmon River flooding of Lower Park Street has been declared a localized State of Emergency.

Malone Supervisor Howard Maneely made the announcement Thursday morning in response to the hazardous conditions of the area.

“It’s bad down there,” he said. “There’s ice across the road.”

Because of the situation, some residents have been forced to leave their homes behind.

“There’s five families that have been evacuated,” Maneely said, noting that all were able to move in with relatives or friends for the time being. “They all had a place to go.”

He noted that a state of emergency has not been declared for the Lower Park Street flooding since 2004, citing the recent cold snap as the cause of the problem.

Malone Fire Chief Brian Gokey said Wednesday that when temperatures drop, it causes the ice that forms on the river to push water up onto the land.

“The ice is building up,” Maneely said. “I feel bad for the people that had to be displaced. ... We’re doing everything we can.”

Maneely added that last year, the weather only dipped below zero degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of days.

“Last year we barely had any problems,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been contacted about the problem, according to Maneely. He said that when he spoke with them, they said the town is on a list of places to receive assistance for various problems, but added that the project is in the middle of the list.

Maneely said during the Malone Town Council meeting Wednesday night that despite the engineers paying a visit to Lower Park Street to do an inspection of the river, they have not provided the municipality with a report on the issue which he said they are supposed to do.

He added that he spoke with Brookfield Power, the company that operates the dam near Lower Park Street, but they said they would need to speak with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about fixing the turbine on the dam.

The turbine has been broken for quite some time, making it so that emergency officials could not open the dam when they responded to the flooding on Wednesday.

The Salmon River flooding Lower Park Street has become an annual problem that extends back into the late 1990s. Maneely said Wednesday that he has been working on the problem since then, sending letters to politicians asking for help. However, no assistance has been provided yet, despite the acknowledgement of the problem.

Maneely said he may have a plan to “make a couple changes,” but said he did not want to disclose it until he’s reviewed it with other officials.

Emergency officials first responded to the problem Wednesday morning when one of homes near the river – 319 Lower Park St. – was reported to have four feet of water in its basement.

The Malone Callfiremen and EMS were there along with Constable, Westville and Bangor volunteer fire departments, according to Gokey.

Also on scene was Franklin County Emergency Services as well as the town of Malone and Franklin County highway departments.

Officials were able to use a portable pump to remove some of the water from the basement of the flooded home as well as place sand bags around that house and others.

Once the temperatures warm a bit, Maneely said Lower Park Street will hopefully be in the clear.

amacneill@mtelegram.com

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