Faces of the Flood: Scott Bodin“We had a lot of problems with sightseers coming in, trying to see the devastation, trying to get to the dam,” Bodin said. “When you’ve got three-fourths of the town evacuated, you can’t have a lot of people in town.”
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Carlton Fire Chief Scott Bodin got the call from Carlton County Emergency Management Director Brian Belich at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The rain was still coming down, and the water from Otter Creek was everywhere and rising fast.
Normally the creek is anywhere from 10-20 feet wide.
“Today you can’t talk in feet,” Bodin said last Thursday. “It’s maybe a quarter to a half a mile wide.”
During the flooding Wednesday, the Carlton Fire and Rescue was assisted by the Wrenshall Fire Department, barricading streets, evacuating people (many were mandatory evacuations ordered by the Carlton County Sheriff’s office) and keeping the tourists out.
“We had a lot of problems with sightseers coming in, trying to see the devastation, trying to get to the dam,” Bodin said. “When you’ve got three-fourths of the town evacuated, you can’t have a lot of people in town.”
Evacuees went to Scanlon Community Center (after Carlton High School shut down, the big and little gyms flooded there) and to friends and family on dry ground. Bodin said that School Avenue and Fourth Street (by the school) were “running water” for about eight hours.
This is how Bodin described the flooding Wednesday afternoon starting at about 1 p.m. Wednesday:
“Basically the flooding in Carlton really took off when Otter Creek flooded into the Burlington North Railroad Yard and then the water just flowed like a river down Second Street, then went across Highway 45, into the Woodland Foods parking lot and back into the St. Louis River … traveling around and through a lot of homes on the way. There was two feet of fast flowing water going right through town.”
“There’s going to be some residents’ houses that have substantial damage,” Bodin said, “plus roadways washed away. But we’ve had no injuries, to personnel or residents.”
On Thursday, Bodin was working on about 3.5 hours of sleep. He said about 15 firefighters and EMTs had worked lots of hours from 3:30 a.m. Wednesday onward.
“You run some long hours when a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophic event happens,” he said.